Fetal acidemia and electronic fetal heart rate patterns: is there evidence of an association?

The Journal of Maternal-fetal & Neonatal Medicine : the Official Journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians
Julian T ParerS J Kilpatrick

Abstract

Despite the ubiquity of electronic fetal monitoring, the validity of the relationship between various fetal heart rate (FHR) patterns and fetal acidemia has not yet been established in a large unselected series of consecutive pregnancies. The aim of this study was to examine the published literature for evidence of such a relationship. Four hypotheses based on assumptions in common clinical use were examined. The literature was searched for relationships between certain aspects of FHR patterns (e.g., degree of FHR variability, depth of decelerations), and fetal acidemia, or fetal vigor (5-minute Apgar score >or=7). We also attempted to relate duration of these patterns to the degree of acidemia. Using standardized FHR nomenclature we defined patterns based on baseline FHR variability, baseline rate, decelerations, and accelerations. The following relationships were observed: (1) Moderate FHR variability was strongly associated (98%) with an umbilical pH >7.15 or newborn vigor (5-minute Apgar score >or=7). (2) Undetectable or minimal FHR variability in the presence of late or variable decelerations was the most consistent predictor of newborn acidemia, though the association was only 23%. (3) There was a positive relationship be...Continue Reading

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