AUTHORS: Iannotti GR, Pittau F, Michel CM, Vulliemoz S, Grouiller F

Brain Topography, 28(1): 21-32, January 2015


One of the major artifact corrupting electroencephalogram (EEG) acquired during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is the pulse artifact (PA). It is mainly due to the motion of the head and attached electrodes and wires in the magnetic field occurring after each heartbeat. In this study we propose a novel method to improve PA detection by considering the strong gradient and inversed polarity between left and right EEG electrodes. We acquired high-density EEG-fMRI (256 electrodes) with simultaneous electrocardiogram (ECG) at 3 T. PA was estimated as the voltage difference between right and left signals from the electrodes showing the strongest artifact (facial and temporal). Peaks were detected on this estimated signal and compared to the peaks in the ECG recording. We analyzed data from eleven healthy subjects, two epileptic patients and four healthy subjects with an insulating layer between electrodes and scalp. The accuracy of the two methods was assessed with three criteria: (i) standard deviation, (ii) kurtosis and (iii) confinement into the physiological range of the inter-peak intervals. We also checked whether the new method has an influence on the identification of epileptic spikes. Results show that estimated PA improved artifact detection in 15/17 cases, when compared to the ECG method. Moreover, epileptic spike identification was not altered by the correction. The proposed method improves the detection of pulse-related artifacts, particularly crucial when the ECG is of poor quality or cannot be recorded. It will contribute to enhance the quality of the EEG increasing the reliability of EEG-informed fMRI analysis.

Download PDF