Database Open Access

Sudden Cardiac Death Holter Database

Published: July 2, 2004. Version: 1.0.0

When using this resource, please cite the original publication:

Greenwald SD. Development and analysis of a ventricular fibrillation detector. M.S. thesis, MIT Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1986.

Please include the standard citation for PhysioNet:

Goldberger AL, Amaral LAN, Glass L, Hausdorff JM, Ivanov PCh, Mark RG, Mietus JE, Moody GB, Peng C-K, Stanley HE. PhysioBank, PhysioToolkit, and PhysioNet: Components of a New Research Resource for Complex Physiologic Signals (2003). Circulation. 101(23):e215-e220.


An estimated 400,000 Americans, and millions more worldwide, die suddenly each year. These events are most often initiated with a sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmia, including ventricular tachycardia (monomorphic or polymorphic), ventricular flutter, or ventricular fibrillation, with a smaller percentage related to a primary bradyarrhythmia. Sudden cardiac death syndrome may be due to a wide variety of different electrical and mechanical substrates, including acute myocardial infarction, chronic coronary disease with prior myocardial infarction(s), cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, valvular heart disease, right ventricular dysplasia, the long Q-T syndrome (acquired or congenital), Wolff-Parkinson-White pre-excitation, the Brugada syndrome, drug toxicity (e.g., proarrhythmic effects of cardioactive drugs; epinephrine, cocaine, and related stimulants), and so forth. Moreover, some individuals have no demonstrable electrical or mechanical predisposition.

Data Description

PhysioNet has inaugurated a Sudden Cardiac Death Database to support research and to stimulate progress in this important area of electrophysiology. We initiate this database with 23 complete Holter recordings (originally collected by Scott Greenwald while he was at MIT), from which half-hour excerpts have been available to researchers since 1989 as the MIT-BIH Malignant Ventricular Arrhythmia Database. The database currently includes 18 patients with underlying sinus rhythm (4 with intermittent pacing), 1 who was continuously paced, and 4 with atrial fibrillation. All patients had a sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and most had an actual cardiac arrest.

These recordings were mainly obtained in the 1980s in Boston area hospitals, and were later compiled as part of a study of ventricular arrhythmias. Because of the retrospective nature of this collection, there are important limitations. Patient information is limited, and sometimes completely unavailable, including data regarding drug regimens and drug dosages. Further, these cases may not be representative of spontaneous episodes of sudden death in what is likely a very heterogenous group of subjects. Despite these shortcomings, these unique recordings may provide important clues to the pathogenesis of sudden death syndrome.

This is a small collection of an important type of data. The task of annotating this database is particularly difficult because of the complexity of the included cardiac rhythms. We invite the community to help us make this collection larger, more representative, and more useful, and to annotate it more thoroughly and rigorously. We welcome contributions of additional data from other investigators who have access to similar records. We also invite interested researchers to review and revise the annotation files provided for these recordings; if you are interested in participating in this effort, please write for additional information. We will gratefully acknowledge all contributions.


  • Greenwald SD, Albrecht P, Moody GB, Mark RG. Estimating confidence limits for arrhythmia detector performance. Computers in Cardiology 1985; 12:383-386.
  • Greenwald SD. Development and analysis of a ventricular fibrillation detector. M.S. thesis, MIT Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1986.
  • Goldberger AL, Rigney DR, Mietus J, Antman EW, Greenwald S. Nonlinear dynamics in sudden cardiac death syndrome: heart rate oscillations and bifurcations. Experientia 1988; 44:983-987. [Abstract] (Analysis based on 16 subjects with underlying sinus rhythm.)
  • Courtemanche M, Glass L. Rosengarten MD, Goldberger AL. Beyond pure parasystole: promises and problems in modeling complex arrhythmias. Am J Physiol 1989; 257 (Heart Circ Physiol 26):H693-H706. [Abstract] (Case 2 in this report is based on data from record 47 of this database.)
  • Goldberger AL, Rigney DR. On the non-linear motions of the heart: fractals, chaos and cardiac dynamics. In: Goldbeter A, ed. Cell to Cell Signaling: From Experiments to Theoretical Models. San Diego: Academic Press, 1989, pp. 541-550. (Figure 4, showing complex periodic patterns of ventricular premature beats, is derived from a record in this database.)

ECG data and beat annotations

A list in plain text form of the names of the records in this database can be found here.

Signals Header Unaudited
VF Onset
Time (elapsed)
30.dat 30.hea 30.ari 30.atr 24:33:17 07:54:33
31.dat 31.hea 31.ari 31.atr 13:58:40 13:42:24
32.dat 32.hea 32.ari 32.atr 24:20:00 16:45:18
33.dat 33.hea 33.ari   24:33:00 04:46:19
34.dat 34.hea 34.ari 34.atr 07:05:20 06:35:44
35.dat 35.hea 35.ari 35.atr 24:52:00 24:34:56
36.dat 36.hea 36.ari 36.atr 20:21:20 18:59:01
37.dat 37.hea 37.ari   25:08:00 01:31:13
38.dat 38.hea 38.ari   18:18:25 08:01:54
39.dat 39.hea 39.ari   05:47:00 04:37:51
40.dat 40.hea 40.ari   24:53:00 (paced, no VF)
41.dat 41.hea 41.ari 41.atr 03:56:00 02:59:24
42.dat 42.hea 42.ari   25:08:10 (no VF)
43.dat 43.hea 43.ari   23:07:50 15:37:11
44.dat 44.hea 44.ari   23:20:00 19:38:45
45.dat 45.hea 45.ari 45.atr 24:09:20 18:09:17
46.dat 46.hea 46.ari 46.atr 04:15:10 03:41:47
47.dat 47.hea 47.ari   23:35:50 06:13:01
48.dat 48.hea 48.ari   24:36:15 02:29:40
49.dat 49.hea 49.ari 49.atr 25:01:40 (paced, no VF)
50.dat 50.hea 50.ari   23:07:38 11:45:43
51.dat 51.hea 51.ari 51.atr 25:08:30 22:58:23
52.dat 52.hea 52.ari 52.atr 07:31:05 02:32:40


Clinical information

Subject Number Gender Age History Medication Underlying Cardiac Rhythm
30 Male 43 Unknown Unknown Sinus
31 Female 72 Heart failure digoxin; quinidine gluconate Sinus
32 Unknown 62 Coronary bypass grafting; history of arrhythmia Procan SR; beta-blocker Sinus with intermittent demand ventricular pacing; CPR at time of cardiac arrest  
33 Female 30 Unknown Unknown Sinus
34 Male 34 Unknown Unknown Sinus
35 Female 72 Mitral valve replacement digoxin Atrial fibrillation
36 Male 75 Cardiac surgery digoxin; quinidine Atrial fibrillation
37 Female 89 Unknown Unknown Atrial fibrillation
38 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Sinus
39 Male 66 Acute myelogenous leukemia digoxin; quinidine Sinus
40 Male 79 Unknown Unknown Paced
41 Male Unknown Unknown Unknown Sinus
42 Male 17 Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; positive family history of sudden death Unknown Sinus
43 Male 35 Coronary artery disease Unknown Intermittent ventricular pacing
44 Male Unknown Unknown Unknown Sinus
45 Male 68 History of ventricular ectopy digoxin; quinidine gluconate Sinus
46 Female Unknown Unknown Unknown Sinus
47 Male 34 Unknown Unknown Sinus
48 Male 80 Unknown Unknown Sinus
49 Male 73 Coronary artery s/p myocardial infarction; history of ventricular tachycardia Unknown Sinus with intermittent pacing
50 Female 68 Coronary artery bypass graft; mitral valve replacement digoxin; quinidine; propranolol; potassium; diuretics Atrial fibrillation
51 Female 67 Unknown Unknown Sinus with intermittent pacing
52 Female 82 Heart failure None listed Sinus



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License (for files):
Open Data Commons Attribution License v1.0

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Folder Navigation: <base>
Name Size Modified
30.ari (download) 258.2 KB 2004-03-22
30.atr (download) 267.3 KB 2004-03-22
30.dat (download) 63.2 MB 2004-03-22
30.hea (download) 182 B 2008-04-05
30.hea- (download) 209 B 2004-03-22
31.ari (download) 123.3 KB 2004-03-22
31.atr (download) 191.9 KB 2004-03-22
31.dat (download) 36.0 MB 2004-03-22
31.hea (download) 183 B 2008-04-05
31.hea- (download) 212 B 2004-03-22
32.ari (download) 237.6 KB 2004-03-22
32.atr (download) 378.2 KB 2004-03-22
32.dat (download) 62.7 MB 2004-03-22
32.hea (download) 184 B 2008-04-05
32.hea- (download) 213 B 2004-03-22
33.ari (download) 136.6 KB 2004-03-22
33.dat (download) 63.2 MB 2004-03-22
33.hea (download) 181 B 2008-04-05
33.hea- (download) 210 B 2004-03-22
34.ari (download) 53.9 KB 2004-03-22
34.atr (download) 54.2 KB 2004-03-22
34.dat (download) 18.3 MB 2004-03-22
34.hea (download) 173 B 2008-04-05
34.hea- (download) 202 B 2004-03-22
35.ari (download) 198.2 KB 2004-03-22
35.atr (download) 288.4 KB 2004-03-22
35.dat (download) 64.0 MB 2004-03-22
35.hea (download) 177 B 2008-04-05
35.hea- (download) 206 B 2004-03-22
36.ari (download) 151.3 KB 2004-03-22
36.atr (download) 241.1 KB 2004-03-22
36.dat (download) 52.4 MB 2004-03-22
36.hea (download) 179 B 2008-04-05
36.hea- (download) 208 B 2004-03-22
37.ari (download) 125.5 KB 2004-03-22
37.dat (download) 64.7 MB 2004-03-22
37.hea (download) 180 B 2008-04-05
37.hea- (download) 209 B 2004-03-22
38.ari (download) 151.2 KB 2004-03-22
38.dat (download) 47.1 MB 2004-03-22
38.hea (download) 179 B 2008-04-05
38.hea- (download) 208 B 2004-03-22
39.ari (download) 62.9 KB 2004-03-22
39.dat (download) 14.9 MB 2004-03-22
39.hea (download) 174 B 2008-04-05
39.hea- (download) 203 B 2004-03-22
40.ari (download) 215.8 KB 2004-03-22
40.dat (download) 64.1 MB 2004-03-22
40.hea (download) 155 B 2008-04-05
40.hea- (download) 185 B 2004-03-22
41.ari (download) 43.8 KB 2004-03-22
41.atr (download) 40.4 KB 2004-03-22
41.dat (download) 10.1 MB 2004-03-22
41.hea (download) 173 B 2008-04-05
41.hea- (download) 202 B 2004-03-22
42.ari (download) 226.7 KB 2004-03-22
42.dat (download) 64.7 MB 2004-03-22
42.hea (download) 165 B 2008-04-05
42.hea- (download) 195 B 2004-03-22
43.ari (download) 246.9 KB 2004-03-22
43.dat (download) 59.6 MB 2004-03-22
43.hea (download) 179 B 2008-04-05
43.hea- (download) 208 B 2004-03-22
44.ari (download) 232.7 KB 2004-03-22
44.dat (download) 60.1 MB 2004-03-22
44.hea (download) 172 B 2008-04-05
44.hea- (download) 201 B 2004-03-22
45.ari (download) 194.7 KB 2004-03-22
45.atr (download) 286.6 KB 2004-03-22
45.dat (download) 62.2 MB 2004-03-22
45.hea (download) 180 B 2008-04-05
45.hea- (download) 209 B 2004-03-22
46.ari (download) 34.2 KB 2004-03-22
46.atr (download) 49.9 KB 2004-03-22
46.dat (download) 11.0 MB 2004-03-22
46.hea (download) 181 B 2008-04-05
46.hea- (download) 210 B 2004-03-22
47.ari (download) 187.0 KB 2004-03-22
47.dat (download) 60.8 MB 2004-03-22
47.hea (download) 179 B 2008-04-05
47.hea- (download) 208 B 2004-03-22
48.ari (download) 293.7 KB 2004-03-22
48.dat (download) 63.4 MB 2004-03-22
48.hea (download) 179 B 2008-04-05
48.hea- (download) 208 B 2004-03-22
49.ari (download) 186.6 KB 2004-03-22
49.atr (download) 206.5 KB 2004-03-22
49.dat (download) 64.0 MB 2004-03-22
49.hea (download) 161 B 2017-05-02
49.hea- (download) 191 B 2004-03-22
50.ari (download) 127.4 KB 2004-03-22
50.dat (download) 59.6 MB 2004-03-22
50.hea (download) 178 B 2008-04-05
50.hea- (download) 207 B 2004-03-22
51.ari (download) 160.6 KB 2004-03-22
51.atr (download) 172.7 KB 2004-03-22
51.dat (download) 64.7 MB 2004-03-22
51.hea (download) 172 B 2008-04-05
51.hea- (download) 201 B 2004-03-22
52.ari (download) 94.0 KB 2004-03-22
52.atr (download) 153.8 KB 2004-03-22
52.dat (download) 19.4 MB 2004-03-22
52.hea (download) 177 B 2008-04-05
52.hea- (download) 206 B 2004-03-22
ANNOTATORS (download) 62 B 2004-07-02
RECORDS (download) 69 B 2004-07-02
SHA256SUMS.txt (download) 7.7 KB 2019-02-20
index.shtml-wz (download) 25.3 KB 2004-07-02
index.shtml.shtml (download) 21.7 KB 2010-12-07
vf-30.png (download) 19.2 KB 2004-03-26