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The second Signal Processing and Monitoring in Labor workshop gathered researchers who utilize promising new research strategies and initiatives to tackle the challenges of intrapartum fetal monitoring. The workshop included a series of lectures and discussions focusing on: new algorithms and techniques for cardiotocogoraphy (CTG) and electrocardiogram acquisition and analyses; the results of a CTG evaluation challenge comparing state-of-the-art computerized methods and visual interpretation for the detection of arterial cord pH <7.05 at birth; the lack of consensus about the role of intrapartum acidemia in the etiology of fetal brain injury; the differences between methods for CTG analysis "mimicking" expert clinicians and those derived from "data-driven" analyses; a critical review of the results from two randomized controlled trials testing the former in clinical practice; and relevant insights from modern physiology-based studies. We concluded that the automated algorithms performed comparably to each other and to clinical assessment of the CTG. However, the sensitivity and specificity urgently need to be improved (both computerized and visual assessment). Data-driven CTG evaluation requires further work with large multicenter datasets based on well-defined labor outcomes. And before first tests in the clinic, there are important lessons to be learnt from clinical trials that tested automated algorithms mimicking expert CTG interpretation. In addition, transabdominal fetal electrocardiogram monitoring provides reliable CTG traces and variability estimates; and fetal electrocardiogram waveform analysis is subject to promising new research. There is a clear need for close collaboration between computing and clinical experts. We believe that progress will be possible with multidisciplinary collaborative research.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica

Publication Date



Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health, Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.