Fetal heart rate monitoring implemented by dynamic adaptation of transmission power of a flexible ultrasound transducer array

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Abstract

Fetal heart rate (fHR) monitoring using Doppler Ultrasound (US) is a standard method to assess fetal health before and during labor. Typically, an US transducer is positioned on the maternal abdomen and directed towards the fetal heart. Due to fetal movement or displacement of the transducer, the relative fetal heart location (fHL) with respect to the US transducer can change, leading to frequent periods of signal loss. Consequently, frequent repositioning of the US transducer is required, which is a cumbersome task affecting clinical workflow. In this research, a new flexible US transducer array is proposed which allows for measuring the fHR independently of the fHL. In addition, a method for dynamic adaptation of the transmission power of this array is introduced with the aim of reducing the total acoustic dose transmitted to the fetus and the associated power consumption, which is an important requirement for application in an ambulatory setting. The method is evaluated using an in-vitro setup of a beating chicken heart. We demonstrate that the signal quality of the Doppler signal acquired with the proposed method is comparable to that of a standard, clinical US transducer. At the same time, our transducer array is able to measure the fHR for varying fHL while only using 50% of the total transmission power of standard, clinical US transducers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1195
JournalSensors
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Doppler Ultrasound
  • Dynamic apodization
  • Fetal heart rate monitoring
  • Wearable sensors

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