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Multi-Chain Semi-Markov Analysis of Intrapartum Cardiotocography

Visual assessment of the evolution of fetal heart rate (FHR) and uterine pressure (UP) patterns is the standard of care in the intrapartum period. Unfortunately, this assessment has high levels of intra- and inter-observer variability. This study processed and analyzed FHR and UP patterns using computerized pattern recognition tools. The goal was to evaluate differences in FHR and UP patterns between fetuses with normal outcomes and those who developed hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). For this purpose, we modeled the sequence of FHR patterns and uterine contractions using Multi-Chain Semi-Markov models (MCSMMs). These models estimate the probability of transitioning between FHR or UP patterns and the dwell time of each pattern. Our results showed that in comparison to the control group, the HIE group had: (1) more frequent uterine contractions during the last 12 hours before birth; (2) more frequent FHR decelerations during the last 12 hours before birth; (3) longer decelerations during the last eight hours before birth; and (4) shorter baseline durations during the last five hours before birth. These results demonstrate that the fetuses in the HIE group were subject to a more stressful environment than those in the normal group. Clinical Relevance- Our results revealed statistically significant differences in FHR/UP patterns between the normal and HIE groups in the hours before birth. This indicates that features derived using MCSMMs may be useful in a machine learning framework to detect infants at increased risk of developing HIE allowing preventive interventions.

Authors: Vargas-Calixto, Johann; Wu, Yvonne; Kuzniewicz, Michael; Cornet, Marie-Coralie; Forquer, Heather; Gerstley, Lawrence; Hamilton, Emily; Warrick, Philip A; Kearney, Robert E

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2022 Jul;2022:1948-1952.

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