Comparison of ECG-based physiological markers for hypoxia in a preterm ovine model

A.A. Zwanenburg, B.J. Hermans, Peter Andriessen, H.J. Niemarkt, R. Jellema, D. Ophelders, R. Vullings, T. Wolfs, B.W. Kramer, T. Delhaas

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Current methods for assessing perinatal hypoxic conditions did not improve infant outcomes. Various waveform-based and interval-based ECG markers have been suggested, but not directly compared. We compare performance of ECG markers in a standardized ovine model for fetal hypoxia.
Sixty-nine fetal sheep of 0.7 gestation had ECG recorded 4 h before, during, and 4 h after a 25-min period of umbilical cord occlusion (UCO), leading to severe hypoxia. Various ECG markers were calculated, among which were heart rate (HR), HR-corrected ventricular depolarization/repolarization interval (QTc), and ST-segment analysis (STAN) episodic and baseline rise markers, analogue to clinical STAN device alarms. Performance of interval- and waveform-based ECG markers was assessed by correlating predicted and actual hypoxic/normoxic state.
Of the markers studied, HR and QTc demonstrated high sensitivity (≥86%), specificity (≥96%), and positive predictive value (PPV) (≥86%) and detected hypoxia in ≥90% of fetuses at 4 min after UCO. In contrast, STAN episodic and baseline rise markers displayed low sensitivity (≤20%) and could not detect severe fetal hypoxia in 65 and 28% of the animals, respectively.
Interval-based HR and QTc markers could assess the presence of severe hypoxia. Waveform-based STAN episodic and baseline rise markers were ineffective as markers for hypoxia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-915
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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