Intrapartum electronic fetal heart rate monitoring and the prevention of perinatal brain injury

Obstetrics and Gynecology
Ernest M GrahamHarold E Fox


Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring (EFM) is the most widely used method of intrapartum surveillance, and our objective is to review its ability to prevent perinatal brain injury and death. Studies that quantified intrapartum EFM and its relation to specific neurologic outcomes (seizures, periventricular leukomalacia, cerebral palsy, death) were eligible for inclusion. MEDLINE was searched from 1966 to 2006 for studies that examined the relationship between intrapartum EFM and perinatal brain injury using these MeSH and text words: "cardiotocography," "electronic fetal monitoring," "intrapartum fetal heart rate monitoring," "intrapartum fetal monitoring," and "fetal heart rate monitoring." This search strategy identified 1,628 articles, and 41 were selected for further review. Articles were excluded for the following reasons: in case reports, letters, commentaries, and review articles, intrapartum EFM was not quantified, or specific perinatal neurologic morbidity was not measured. Three observational studies and a 2001 meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials were selected for determination of the effect of intrapartum EFM on perinatal brain injury. Electronic fetal monitoring was introduced into widespread clinical ...Continue Reading


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