Fetal pulse oximetry: Correlation with intrapartum fetal heart rate patterns and neonatal outcome

Kocaeli University, School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kocaeli, Turkey.
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research (Impact Factor: 1.07). 10/2008; 34(5):824-31. DOI: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2008.00850.x
Source: PubMed


To determine how fetal pulse oximetry behaves in various cardiotocographic (CTG) tracings and correlates with neonatal outcome.
Pregnant women undergoing active labor with singleton pregnancies of 32-42 weeks were enrolled. CTG recordings were reassuring or nonreassuring (namely variable or persisting late decelerations). Pulse oximetry values during labor and changing throughout deceleration and recovery phases, duration and frequency of pulse oximetry recordings <30%, and neonatal outcome were determined. One-way anova, Tukey test, chi(2)-test and multiple logistic regression model were used for statistical analysis where appropriate.
A total of 156 pregnant subjects were divided into three groups: reassuring fetal heart rate (FHR) patterns (group 1, n=78 [50%]), late decelerations (group 2, n=16 [10.3%]) and variable decelerations (group 3, n=62 [39.7%]). The initial and final pulse oximetry readings, pulse values in first stage of labor, the duration and the frequency of pulse oximetry recordings <30% were significantly different between groups (P<0.001, P<0.001, P<0.001, P=0.001, P<0.001). Fetal acidosis was significantly more frequent with late decelerations (23.1%, P=0.004). A multiple logistic regression model demonstrated that the initial pulse oximetry value during active labor was the most predictive variable of neonatal well-being (P<0.001).
Decreased fetal pulse oximetry values, especially prolonged and recurrent recordings <30% are well-correlated with abnormal FHR patterns, indicating an association with fetal compromise and metabolic acidosis. Going through active labor with a lower initial value of FSpO(2) more frequently leads to an altered FHR pattern and subsequent adverse fetal outcome.

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    • "In non-reassuring CTG traces, pulse oximetry was initially felt to provide a more sophisticated way of detecting adverse neonatal outcome. Several studies defined a critical threshold of <30% SpO2 persisting for greater than ten minutes as a predictor of fetal acidosis and poor neonatal outcome [13]. This cut off value yielded a sensitivity of 81% and specificity of 100% to predict scalp pH of <7.2 [14]. "
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