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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Imprimir: 0278-940X
ISSN En Línea: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v28.i12.280
pages 165-171

Ultra-Low-Noise Instrumentation and Computer-Based Data Acquisition and Processing System for Obtaining a Noninvasive and Intrauterine Catheter Fetal Electrocardiogram

Steven L. Horner
Bucknell University, Department of Electrical Engineering, Lewisburg, PA 17837; and University of Tennessee Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN 37920
William M. Holls
University of Tennessee Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN 37920


A fetal electrocardiogram (FECG) from the abdominal surface will be from 20 mVpp to immeasurable. The intrauterine catheter signal will be from 50 mVpp - to unmeasureable and will be corrupted with a significant direct current component of 10 to 200 mV. For electrophysiological information to be obtained from the abdominal and intrauterine catheter signals, the signals must be in a 0.05 to 100.0 Hz bandwidth. Because typical adult electrocardiogram systems have a noise specification of 5 to 10 mVpp from instrumentation, these systems are unacceptable for obtaining a FECG via the intrauterine catheter or noninvasively. Therefore, custom instrumentation has been developed with a noise specification of approximately 1.5 mVpp in a 0.05 to 100.0 Hz bandwidth.
Design details of the custom instrumentation will be presented along with a laptop computer based data acquisition and signal processing system using Lab VIEW. In addition, clinical data from the intrauterine catheter and noninvasive abdominal wall are presented to determine the feasibility of obtaining a FECG via the custom instrumentation. Clinical data obtained and documented indicates that after maternal electrocardiogram cancellation, a FECG with a good signal-to-noise ratio can be obtained in a diagnostic bandwidth of 0.05 to 100.0 Hz. Because the diagnostic bandwidth is preserved, electrophysiological information can be determined along with heart rate.

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