Beat-to-beat heart rate detection in multi-lead abdominal fetal ECG recordings

C. H. L. Peters*, J. O. E. H. van Laar, R. Vullings, S. G. Oei, P. F. F. Wijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Reliable monitoring of fetal condition often requires more information than is provided by cardiotocography, the standard technique for fetal monitoring. Abdominal recording of the fetal electrocardiogram may offer valuable additional information, but unfortunately is troubled by poor signal-to-noise ratios during certain parts of pregnancy. To increase the usability of abdominal fetal ECG recordings, an algorithm was developed that enhances fetal QRS complexes in these recordings and thereby provides a promising method for detecting the beat-to-beat fetal heart rate in recordings with poor signal-to-noise ratios. The method was evaluated on generated recordings with controlled signal-to-noise ratios and on actual recordings that were performed in clinical practice and were annotated by two independent experts. The evaluation on the generated signals demonstrated excellent results (sensitivity of 0.98 for SNR >= 1.5). Only for SNR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-338
JournalMedical Engineering & Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Signal processing
  • Fetal monitoring
  • Heart rate variability

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