A mathematical model for simulation of early decelerations in the cardiotocogram during labor

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Abstract

Fetal welfare during labor and delivery is commonly monitored through the cardiotocogram (CTG), the combined registration of uterus contractions and fetal heart rate (FHR). The CTG gives an indication of the main determinant of the acute fetal condition, namely its oxygen state. However, interpretation is complicated by the complex relationship between the two. Mathematical models can be used to assist with the interpretation of the CTG, since they enable quantitative modeling of the cascade of events through which uterine contractions affect fetal oxygenation and FHR. We developed a mathematical model to simulate ‘early decelerations’, i.e. variations in FHR originating from caput compression during uterine contractions, as mediated by cerebral flow reduction, cerebral hypoxia and a vagal nerve response to hypoxia. Simulation results show a realistic response, both for fetal and maternal hemodynamics at term, as for FHR variation during early decelerations. The model is intended to be used as a training tool for gynaecologists. Therefore 6 clinical experts were asked to rate 5 real and 5 model-generated CTG tracings on overall realism and realism of selected aspects. Results show no significant differences between real and computer-generated CTG tracings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-589
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Engineering & Physics
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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