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Influence of gestational age and time of day in baseline and heart rate variation of fetuses

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fetal electrocardiography (FECG) places electrodes on the maternal abdomen to convert the fetal electrocardiosignals into fetal heart rate (FHR), improving the accuracy and comfort of pregnant woman. At the same time, FECG simplifies the procedure of long term monitoring in the perinatal period.

OBJECTIVE:

Investigating the influence of gestational age and time of day on FHR features to distinguish between non-stress test (NST) normal fetuses and NST suspicious fetuses.

METHODS:

A novel method of FHR baseline estimation was presented; then baseline value and fetal heart rate variation (FHRV) were analyzed in the time domain using FHR signals recorded from 52 fetuses.

RESULTS:

Baseline values in 1:00, 2:00, 4:00, 5:00 and heart rate variation (HRV) distribution showed a significant difference (p< 0.05) between NST normal fetuses and NST suspicious fetuses.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest that NST normal and suspicious fetuses had same outcome and different FHR features. Accurately distinguishing normal fetuses and suspicious fetuses is important for lowering the false positive rate and reducing unnecessary clinical intervention.

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