Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 401–411 | Cite as

Uterine electromyography for discrimination of labor imminence in women with threatened preterm labor under tocolytic treatment

  • Javier Mas-Cabo
  • Gema Prats-BoludaEmail author
  • Alfredo Perales
  • Javier Garcia-Casado
  • José Alberola-Rubio
  • Yiyao Ye-Lin
Original Article


As one of the main aims of obstetrics is to be able to detect imminent delivery in patients with threatened preterm labor, the techniques currently used in clinical practice have serious limitations in this respect. The electrohysterogram (EHG) has now emerged as an alternative technique, providing relevant information about labor onset when recorded in controlled checkups without administration of tocolytic drugs. The studies published to date mainly focus on EHG-burst analysis and, to a lesser extent, on whole EHG window analysis. The study described here assessed the ability of EHG signals to discriminate imminent labor (< 7 days) in women with threatened preterm labor undergoing tocolytic therapy, using both EHG-burst and whole EHG window analyses, by calculating temporal, spectral, and non-linear parameters. Only two non-linear EHG-burst parameters and four whole EHG window analysis parameters were able to distinguish the women who delivered < 7 days from the others, showing that EHG can provide relevant information on the approach of labor, even in women with threatened preterm labor under the effects of tocolytic therapy. The whole EHG window outperformed the EHG-burst analysis and is seen as a step forward in the development of real-time EHG systems able to predict imminent labor in clinical praxis.

Graphical abstract

The ability of EHG recordings to predict imminent labor (< 7 days) was analyzed in preterm threatened patients undergoing tocolytic therapies by means of EHG-burst and whole EHG window analysis. The non-linear features were found to have better performance than the temporal and spectral parameters in separating women who delivered in less than 7 days from those who did not.


Electrohysterogram Premature labor Tocolytic therapy Non-linear analysis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigación e Innovación en BioingenieríaUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Servicio de Obstetricia, H.U. P. La FeValenciaSpain

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