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Critical analysis of electrohysterographic methods for continuous monitoring of intrauterine pressure

1 Bloomlife, Schiepse Bos 6, Genk 3600, Belgium
2 Signal Processing Systems, University of Technology Eindhoven, Eindhoven 5612 AZ, Netherlands
3 Perinatology and Obstetrics department, Maxima Medical Center, Veldhoven 5504 DB, Netherlands

Special Issues: Computer Methods and Programs in Prenatal Medicine

Monitoring the progression of uterine activity provides important prognostic information during pregnancy and delivery. Currently, uterine activity monitoring relies on direct or indirect mechanical measurements of intrauterine pressure (IUP), which are unsuitable for continuous long-term observation. The electrohysterogram (EHG) provides a non-invasive alternative to the existing methods and is suitable for long-term ambulatory use. Several published state-of-the-art methods for EHG-based IUP estimation are here discussed, analyzed, optimized, and compared. By means of parameter space exploration, key parameters of the methods are evaluated for their relevance and optimal values. We have optimized all methods towards higher IUP estimation accuracy and lower computational complexity. Their accuracy was compared with the gold standard accuracy of internally measured IUP. Their computational complexity was compared based on the required number of multiplications per second (MPS). Significant reductions in computational complexity have been obtained for all published algorithms, while improving IUP estimation accuracy. A correlation coefficient of 0.72 can be obtained using fewer than 120 MPS. We conclude that long-term ambulatory monitoring of uterine activity is possible using EHG-based methods. Furthermore, the choice of a base method for IUP estimation is less important than the correct selection of electrode positions, filter parameters, and postprocessing methods. The presented review of state-of-the-art methods and applied optimizations show that long-term ambulatory IUP monitoring is feasible using EHG measurements.
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