Accuracy, interpretability and usability study of a wireless self-guided fetal heartbeat monitor compared to cardiotocography


Fetal Cardiography is usually performed using in-hospital Cardiotocographic (CTG) devices to assess fetal wellbeing. New technologies may permit home-based, self-administered examinations. We compared the accuracy, clinical interpretability, and user experience of a patient-administered, wireless, fetal heartbeat monitor (HBM) designed for home use, to CTG. Initially, participants had paired HBM and CTG examinations performed in the clinic. Women then used the HBM unsupervised and rated the experience. Sixty-three women had paired clinic-based HBM and CTG recordings, providing 6982 fetal heart rate measures for point-to-point comparison from 126 min of continuous recording. The accuracy of the HBM was excellent, with limits of agreement (95%) for mean fetal heart rate (FHR) between 0.72 and −1.78 beats per minute. The FHR was detected on all occasions and confirmed to be different from the maternal heart rate. Both methods were equally interpretable by Obstetricians, and had similar signal loss ratios. Thirty-four (100%) women successfully detected the FHR and obtained clinically useful cardiographic data using the device at home unsupervised. They achieved the required length of recording required for non-stress test analysis. The monitor ranked in the 96–100th percentile for usability and learnability. The HBM is as accurate as gold-standard CTG, and provides equivalent clinical information enabling use in non-stress test analyses conducted outside of hospitals. It is usable by expectant mothers with minimal training.


fetal heart rate, FHR, heart rate variability, (HRV), cardiotocography (CTG)

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