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Reconstruction of the Frank vectorcardiogram from standard electrocardiographic leads: diagnostic comparison of different methods

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 1083-1092 First published online: 2 December 1990


Three methods for reconstructing the Frank VCG from the standard 12-lead ECG were studied. The first was based on multivariate regression, the second on a model of the cardio-electrical activity, and the third method used a quasi-orthogonal set of ECG leads.

The methods were evaluated on a test set of 90 cases by a numerical distance measure and by the agreement in diagnostic classification of the original and reconstructed VCGs. The original and reconstructed VCGs were presented separately and in random order to three referees. Eighteen of the original VCGs were presented three times to estimate the intra-observer agreement. Kappa statistics were used to quantify the agreement between diagnostic classifications. Separately, one referee was simultaneously presented the original VCG and its three reconstructions for all cases. Each reconstruction VCG was classified as either diagnostically ‘same’ as the original, ‘borderline’or ‘different’.

The performance of the regression method and the model-based method was comparable. Both methods were preferable to the quasi-orthogonal method. The kappa values for the preferred methods indicated a good to excellent diagnostic agreement between the original and reconstructed VCGs. Only one out of ninety VCGs that were reconstructed with the regression method was classified as ‘different’ compared with the original VCGs; three VCGs were classified as ‘different’ with the model-based method. It was also found that estimation of similarity by a distance measure could not replace diagnostic evaluation by skilled observers.

  • VCG reconstruction
  • evaluation of diagnoses
  • kappa statistic


  • **Present address: Department of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.

    • Received November 30, 1989.
    • Revision received March 12, 1990.

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