ST waveform analysis for monitoring hypoxic distress in fetal sheep after prolonged umbilical cord occlusion

Peter Andriessen*, Alex Zwanenburg, Judith O. E. H. van Laar, Rik Vullings, Ben J. M. Hermans, Hendrik J. Niemarkt, Reint K. Jellema, Daan R. M. G. Ophelders, Tim G. A. M. Wolfs, Boris W. Kramer, Tammo Delhaas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction The inconclusive clinical results for ST-waveform analysis (STAN) in detecting fetal hypoxemia may be caused by the signal processing of the STAN-device itself. We assessed the performance of a clinical STAN device in signal processing and in detecting hypoxemia in a fetal sheep model exposed to prolonged umbilical cord occlusion (UCO). Methods Eight fetal lambs were exposed to 25 minutes of UCO. ECG recordings were analyzed during a baseline period and during UCO. STAN-event rates and timing of episodic T/QRS rise, baseline T/QRS rise and the occurrence of biphasic ST-waveforms, as well as signal loss, were assessed. Results During baseline conditions of normoxemia, a median of 40 (IQR, 25-70) STAN-events per minute were detected, compared to 10 (IQR, 2-22) during UCO. During UCO STAN-events were detected in five subjects within 10 minutes and in six subjects after 18 minutes, respectively. Two subjects did not generate any STAN-event during UCO. Biphasic ST event rate was reduced during UCO (median 0, IQR 0-5), compared to baseline (median 32, IQR, 6-55). ST-waveforms could not be assessed in 62% of the recording time during UCO, despite a good quality of the ECG signal. Conclusions The STAN device showed limitations in detecting hypoxemia in fetal sheep after prolonged UCO. The STAN device produced high false positive event rates during baseline and did not detect T/QRS changes adequately after prolonged fetal hypoxemia. During 14% of baseline and 62% of the UCO period, the STAN-device could not process the ECG signal, despite its good quality. Resolving these issues may improve the clinical performance of the STAN device.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0195978
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018


  • ECG
  • Blood Pressure
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Animals
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Sheep
  • Fetal Hypoxia/etiology

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