Fetal heart rate variability: an approach to automated assessment

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
J R HueyE H Hon


Three hundred seventy-five hours of fetal heart rate (FHR) data derived from the direct fetal electrocardiogram (ECG) were studied. This data had been stored on magnetic tape from 83 intrapartum patients. By means of a computerized technique, the FHR variability was assessed quantitatively. The degree of variability was then related to: (1) state of labor, (2) fetal scalp pH values, and (3) the 1-minute Apgar score. FHR variability was computed from differences between consecutive R-R intervals measured from the R wave of each fetal ECG. A trend of increasing variability was seen with advancing labor, defined by either time prior to delivery or cervical dilatation, but values were not statistically significant. Significantly less FHR variability was encountered when fetal scalp pH values below 7.20 were compared to higher values. FHR variability assessed during the 20 minutes immediately preceding delivery was significantly lower in infants with 1-minute Apgar scores less than 7. Machine assessment of FHR variability thus could be correlated with fetal condition as determined by scalp pH and neonatal outcome determined by Apgar score.


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Related Concepts

Labor (Childbirth)
Fetal Monitoring
Fetal Heart
Uterine Cervicitis
Apgar Score
Umbilical Cord Blood
Electrocardiographic Recorders
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
Pulse Rate

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