Evaluation and patient experience of wireless noninvasive fetal heart rate monitoring devices

Chantal Eenkhoorn*, Tom G. Goos, Jenny Dankelman, Arie Franx, Alex J. Eggink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: In clinical practice, fetal heart rate monitoring is performed intermittently using Doppler ultrasound, typically for 30 minutes. In case of a non-reassuring heart rate pattern, monitoring is usually prolonged. Noninvasive fetal electrocardiography may be more suitable for prolonged monitoring due to improved patient comfort and signal quality. This study evaluates the performance and patient experience of four noninvasive electrocardiography devices to assess candidate devices for prolonged noninvasive fetal heart rate monitoring. Material and methods: Non-critically sick women with a singleton pregnancy from 24 weeks of gestation were eligible for inclusion. Fetal heart rate monitoring was performed during standard care with a Doppler ultrasound device (Philips Avalon-FM30) alone or with this Doppler ultrasound device simultaneously with one of four noninvasive electrocardiography devices (Nemo Fetal Monitoring System, Philips Avalon-Beltless, Demcon Dipha-16 and Dräger Infinity-M300). Performance was evaluated by: success rate, positive percent agreement, bias, 95% limits of agreement, regression line, root mean square error and visual agreement using FIGO guidelines. Patient experience was captured using a self-made questionnaire. Results: A total of 10 women were included per device. For fetal heart rate, Nemo performed best (success rate: 99.4%, positive percent agreement: 94.2%, root mean square error 5.1 BPM, bias: 0.5 BPM, 95% limits of agreement: −9.7 – 10.7 BPM, regression line: y = −0.1x + 11.1) and the cardiotocography tracings obtained simultaneously by Nemo and Avalon-FM30 received the same FIGO classification. Comparable results were found with the Avalon-Beltless from 36 weeks of gestation, whereas the Dipha-16 and Infinity-M300 performed significantly worse. The Avalon-Beltless, Nemo and Infinity-M300 closely matched the performance of the Avalon-FM30 for maternal heart rate, whereas the performance of the Dipha-16 deviated more. Patient experience scores were higher for the noninvasive electrocardiography devices. Conclusions: Both Nemo and Avalon-Beltless are suitable devices for (prolonged) noninvasive fetal heart rate monitoring, taking their intended use into account. But outside its intended use limit of 36 weeks’ gestation, the Avalon-Beltless performs less well, comparable to the Dipha-16 and Infinity-M300, making them currently unsuitable for (prolonged) noninvasive fetal heart rate monitoring. Noninvasive electrocardiography devices appear to be preferred due to greater comfort and mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-991
Number of pages12
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Volume103
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG).

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