Compiling ECGSYN

Sources for the C version of ECGSYN are here. Note, however, that two additional files are required in order to compile ECGSYN. These files (dfour1.c and ran1.c) are those included in Numerical Recipes in C. Before attempting to compile ECGSYN, obtain these two files from Numerical Recipes in C and place them in the same directory as the other sources. (These files are not provided here because they cannot be freely redistributed.)

If you cannot obtain dfour1.c and ran1.c, several alternatives are available, including ready-to-run executable versions of ECGSYN for GNU/Linux, Solaris, and MS-Windows, as well as Matlab/Octave and Java implementations of ECGSYN.

On most platforms, including GNU/Linux, MacOS X, and Unix, compile ECGSYN by typing

in a terminal window. This will also work under MS-Windows if you have installed the free Cygwin/gcc development toolkit. If you wish to use another compiler under MS-Windows, you are on your own.

Running ECGSYN

The executable version is named ecgsyn (or, under MS-Windows, ecgsyn.exe). Once you have this file, move it into any directory in your PATH and run it by typing

in a terminal window. You may add options (switches) to the 'ecgsyn' command; the option '$', as in
    ecgsyn $
starts ECGSYN in interactive mode, as shown below:
    >> ecgsyn $
    ECGSYN: A program for generating a realistic synthetic ECG
    Copyright (c) 2003 by Patrick McSharry & Gari Clifford. All rights reserved.
    O Name of output data file                 "ecgsyn.dat"
    n Approximate number of heart beats        256
    s ECG sampling frequency [Hz]              256
    S Internal Sampling frequency [Hz]         256
    a Amplitude of additive uniform noise [mV] 0
    h Heart rate mean [bpm]                    60
    H Heart rate standard deviation [bpm]      1
    f Low frequency [Hz]                       0.1
    F High frequency [Hz]                      0.25
    v Low frequency standard deviation [Hz]    0.01
    V High frequency standard deviation [Hz]   0.01
    q LF/HF ratio                              0.5
    R Seed                                     1
    (Type ? for Help)

At the prompt, you can then type ? for help, or simply specify each parameter that you want to change by typing the corresponding option letter (in the first column above) followed by a space and the new value, then <enter>. To review the current settings, enter a blank line. After you have modified all the parameters you want, type = followed by <enter> to run the program. You may also specify the parameters in a file called ecgsyn.opt, which is automatically read (if it exists) the next time you run the program.

Any of the options can also be entered directly on the command line, by prefixing the option letter with '-', as in:

    ecgsyn -h 80 -n 100
(which would create output at a mean heart rate of 80 bpm, lasting for about 100 beats).

The source files opt.c and opt.h provide the option interpreter for ECGSYN; they were written by James Theiler. For additional information, and for the most recent version of opt, see

Interpreting ECGSYN's output

Unless you have changed the name of the output file with the 'O' parameter, you will find the synthetic ECG written to a text file called ecgsyn.dat. Click here for a sample of ECGSYN output and for a description of the format of this file.