Tiny fluctuations in a fetus’s heartbeat can indicate distress, but currently there is no way to detect such subtle variations except during labor, when it could be too late to prevent serious or even fatal complications.
Now, a new system developed by an MIT scientist and colleagues including an obstetrician could allow much earlier monitoring of the fetal heartbeat. The additional researchers are from the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, Sharif University, Tufts Medical Center, and E-TROLZ Inc.
Among other advantages, the system is expected to be less expensive and easier to use than current technologies. It could also cut the rate of Cesarean deliveries by helping clinicians rule out potential problems that might otherwise prompt the procedure. Finally, the device used today to monitor subtle changes in the fetal heartbeat during labor must be attached to the fetus itself, but the new product would be noninvasive.
“Our objective is to make a monitoring system that’s simultaneously cheaper and more effective” than what is currently available, said Gari Clifford, PhD, a principal research s…
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