The quality of intrapartum cardiotocography in preterm labour

Zohal Faiz*, Eline M. van 't Hof, Gerard J. Colenbrander, Ralf Lippes, Petra C. A. M. Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study is to determine the quality of the foetal heart rate (FHR) recording, defined as signal loss, during preterm labour below 28 weeks gestational age (GA) and contribute to the discussion if cardiotocography (CTG) is of value for the extreme preterm foetus. From January 2010 to December 2019 a retrospective study was conducted with data of 95 FHR recordings of singletons born between 24 and 28 weeks GA at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre, location VUmc. FHR tracings had a duration of at least 30 min and were obtained via external ultrasound mode. Data of all recordings were divided in two groups according to gestation (24-26 weeks and 26-28 weeks). Signal loss was analysed. Statistical significance was calculated by non-parametric tests and chi-square tests. The median signal loss and the proportion of cases exceeding the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics Guidelines (FIGO) threshold of 20% signal loss were calculated. One-third of the recordings exceeded the 20% FIGO-criterion for adequate signal quality during the first stage of labour. In the second stage, this was nearly 75%. Similarly, the median signal loss was 13% during the first and 30% during the second stage of labour (p<0.01). The quality of FHR monitoring in the extreme preterm foetus is inadequate in a large proportion of the foetuses, especially during the second stage. FHR monitoring is therefore controversial and should be used with caution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Perinatal Medicine
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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