‘Wear-It-Home’ Fetal Heart-Rate Monitor

A 'wear it home' system for longer-term fetal heart-rate monitoring during normal activity to improve detection of fetal distress and other dangerous prenatal conditions.

What is it?

A ‘wear it home’ system for longer-term fetal heart-rate monitoring during normal activity to improve detection of fetal distress and other dangerous prenatal conditions.

How is it used?

A garment fitted with ECG sensors is provided by the physician and worn by the expectant mother to record fetal and maternal heart-rate throughout a full day of normal activity.

What technologies does it incorporate?

There are 3 components to the high-level system architecture. 1) The wearable monitor is a fabric-embedded thin ECG with SD storage, battery and a bluetooth radio. 2) The physician’s smartphone app synchronizes data from the monitor automatically when in range of a paired device. 3) The clinic web app receives synchronized data from the smartphone app and stores on a web server for further analysis. See figure 1 for a visual schematic.

How does it work?

The garment contains a number of embedded textile electrodes which act as an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor to measure the heart-rate variance of both fetus and mother. The device logs up to 24 hours of ECG waveform as a timeseries on a micro-SD card. When the device comes into range of a smartphone running the paired application, it uses the bluetooth low energy (BTLE) protocol to upload all logged data to the smartphone. The data is analyzed within the smartphone application, and can either be visualized in mobile format, or synchronized with a web server accessed at the clinic for further analysis, comparison against other data sources, and archiving.

Who uses it?

Users of the device include the physician and an expectant mother after the 26th week of pregnancy. The physician helps the mother fit the device, and instructs her on the ‘wear it home’ diagnostic procedure. The mother wears the device through normal daytime activity and throughout the night in order to collect long-term fetal heart-rate variance (FHRV) information. Immediately upon data synchronization, the physician and mother can jointly view and analyze the results.

Why does it help?

The benefits of a remote monitoring FHRV system are the ability to acquire a longer-term stream of maternal and fetal heart-rate data in normal (non-clinical) conditions. The extended acquisition period augments the physician’s ability to catch symptoms fetal distress that may be intermittent and not picked up in a traditional 10-minute in-clinic assessment. Additionally, it may be possible to leverage other data streams from the reporting period such as location, movement activity, and noise levels, in order to identify environmental factors that may be impacting the fetus’s well-being. Such levels of analysis are impossible with traditional cardiotocography (CTG) equipment.


Team

Team's Location

Kenya

Team's Occupation

Engineers

Team Members

Jeremy Gordon (Echo Mobile), Zoe Cohen, Simon Ndunda

Focus Area(s)

Diagnosis/Treatment/Referral, Data Collection/Data Insight

UNICEF Pillar(s)

Health



These pages have been pulled directly from applications submitted to the Wearables for Good Challenge in 2015. They represent the work of the individual teams and have subsequently not been edited.

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