CRANBURY, N.J., Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- PeriGen, the global leader in clinical decision support for obstetrics, announced the availability of three new educational white papers chronicling the past, present and future of electronic fetal monitoring (EFM). Understanding how the baby's heart reacts to labor is critical for OB clinicians who are responsible for the difficult challenge of interpreting fetal status.
Written by Emily Hamilton, M.D.C.M., senior vice president of research and Philip Warrick, Ph.D., senior biomedical research engineer at PeriGen, the white papers target perinatal unit managers and educators seeking information that will help their hospital labor and delivery (L&D) teams better understand how EFM can help improve clinical care. The authors also detail leading edge developments that may change clinical practice.
Titled "EFM: Journey Through Time," the first white paper reviews the advances in EFM to the present day. It can be viewed here (web page includes link to a downloadable PDF).
Nearly 200 years ago a wooden stethoscope was first used to listen to fetal heart tones and heart rate as an indicator of fetal status. Another half century passed before reports appeared describing electronic methods to detect the heart rate.
The historical EFM development milestones covered in the white paper include:
- The development of modern fetal heart rate sensors
- The identification of specific fetal heart rate patterns with clinical relevance
- The standardization of nomenclature
- The continuing evolution of graded classifications to guide clinical management
- The use of simple checklists of EFM-related conditions during L&D to improve patient safety.
The second white paper titled "Electronic Fetal Monitoring: A Primer on the Physiology of Fetal Heart Control" can be viewed here.
This white paper describes the mechanisms of fetal heart rate (FHR) control and how this information helps clinicians infer the physiological state of the baby and gauge whether intervention is warranted.
Among the topics covered are:
- Basic physiological pathways that regulate heart rate
- Experimentation revealing how fetal heart rate responds during labor
- The mechanisms causing variable and late decelerations
- How these mechanisms affect clinical interpretation of tracings
- How heart rate variability is affected by labor and metabolic acidosis
The third white paper titled "The Future of Electronic Fetal Monitoring" can be viewed here.
Scientists around the world are applying modern techniques to develop new sensors that can measure different aspects of the fetal cardiac physiology. They are also crafting innovative methods to extract new information that may not be readily visible to the human eye examining a conventional paper recording of fetal heart rate. This white paper encapsulates recent developments, all aiming to find a better method to detect a baby at imminent risk of developing hypoxic injury, giving clinicians time to intervene without also causing an excessive amount of unnecessary intervention.
- Electromagnetic sensors for fetal ECG and uterine contraction detection
- Sensors that measure the fetal magnetocardiogram
- ST segment analysis of the fetal ECG from scalp electrode
- New fetal heart rate variability measurements based on entropy or fractal analysis
- Machine learning techniques
- System identification techniques
"Few technologies in medicine can claim as wide a range of professional reactions as EFM," said Dr. Hamilton. "Despite its controversy, conventional EFM remains a mainstay of intrapartum care, suggesting clinicians find its benefits outweigh its disadvantages. The purpose of these three white papers is to present researched and unbiased scientific information that L&D nurse managers and their clinicians can use to gain a greater understanding of the technology and future directions."
About PeriGen, Inc.
PeriGen, Inc. is an innovative provider of fetal surveillance systems employing patented, pattern-recognition and obstetrics technologies that empower perinatal clinicians to make confident, real-time decisions about the mothers and babies in their care. PeriGen's customer-centric team of clinicians and technologists builds the most advanced systems available to augment obstetric decision-making and improve communications among the clinical team at the point of care, while supporting data flow between healthcare IT systems. PeriGen's fetal monitoring system is the only electronic fetal monitoring pattern recognition system that is validated by the NICHD. Visit us at www.PeriGen.com.