Computer Methods and Programs in Prenatal Medicine

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Guest Editors
Prof. Laura Burattini
Department of Information Engineering, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy
Email: l.burattini@univpm.it

Prof. Reza Sameni
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
Email: rsameni@shirazu.ac.ir

Prof. Danilo Pani
Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Cagliari, Italy
Email: danilo.pani@diee.unica.it

Manuscript Topics
Pregnancy is a physiological but critical time for the health of the fetus and the mother, with important risks for both, so that fetal and maternal morbidities and mortality are still relatively frequent. Facility-based delivery is globally accepted as the solution for reducing such risks. Fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality are closely linked. However, even in health facilities of developed countries, fetal and maternal health statuses at the end of pregnancy are typically independently evaluated, often in different days, different locations and by different clinicians.

Typically, fetal health status is evaluated by means of cardiotocography, still visually interpreted in most cases. Cardiotocography provides information about the risk of fetal hypoxia and distress but accuracy is far from satisfying. In the recent decades, it has been shown that computerized cardiotocographic analysis, as well as other prenatal computerized tests possibly based on the analysis of fetal electrocardiography, fetal phonocardiography, fetal heart-rate variability and other modalities, could significantly improve identification of fetuses at increased risk, who need to be treated during pregnancy or for whom delivery should occur in specialized centers.

On the other hand, monitoring of the mother is mainly focused on automatic evaluation of glycaemia, blood pressure and heart functionality for a better diagnosis and prevention of gestational diabetes mellitus, pre-eclampsia and peripartum cardiomyopathy. Additional cardiac computerized monitoring, such as such as long-term Holter recording, could help identification of women with increased risk of cardiovascular complications during delivery, a condition characterized by great physical efforts and stress.
To date, a global vision of the “mother-fetus system” as a unified entity, in all its interacting aspects, is still missing (or at least not so popular) in the medical community, even though the fetal health status is known to be strictly dependent on the maternal one and vice versa.

The objective of this special issue is to help the fusion of the different aspects of prenatal medicine. It will focus on computerized methods and programs for acquisition, filtering, features extraction, classification and interpretation of biological signals and data related to prenatal medicine of both fetus and mother. Thus, potential topics include, but are not limited to:

• Devices for the acquisition of fetal and maternal biological signals/data either in clinics or at home
• Invasive fetal ECG analysis
• Non-invasive fetal ECG extraction
• EHG signal processing
• Computerized CTG analysis
• PCG signal analysis
• Ultrasound signal processing for fetal monitoring
• Filtering techniques for enhancement of fetal signals
• Algorithms for identification and extraction of clinically relevant fetal and maternal features
• Computerized procedure for classification of fetal and maternal levels of risk

Both novel research papers and reviews will be considered.

Paper Submission
All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed before their acceptance for publication.
The deadline for manuscript submission is June 30, 2019.

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Eleonora Sulas, Monica Urru, Roberto Tumbarello, Luigi Raffo, Danilo Pani
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