Fetal ECG Detection and Applications
A new fetal electronic monitoring system (FEMO) has been developed, based on the automatic detection of fetal heart beats from the combined maternal abdominal ECG signal. It uses a single lead abdominal signal and submits it to an elaborate algorithm for the on-line automatic detection of fetal heart rate and the computation of an average fetal ECG complex.
The ability to noninvasively measure the fetal ECG complex and to detect accurate beat-to-beat fetal heart rate from abdominal signal, can become a diagnostic tool of particular importance. The average fetal ECG complex provides direct information about the fetal heart (its intrinsic electrical activity, possible congenital malformations or fetal arrhythmia), from early stages of pregnancy on, and not only at birth. By means of the “true” beat-to-beat fetal heart rate, our system can provide the “classical” direct clinical insight in the well-being of the baby. In addition, in conjunction with tools for spectral analysis of beat-to-beat HR fluctuations, it permits the investigation of the development and maturation of autonomic control in the fetus. It allows estimation of fetal behavioral stages, in particular the indirect detection of fetal breathing movements from its HR variability, instead of requiring cumbersome ultrasonic imaging.
KeywordsFetal Heart Fetal Heart Rate Scalp Electrode Maternal Contribution Fetal Heart Beat
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