About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Pregnant Mothers Can Use Doppler Fetal Monitor at Home

by Hannah Joy on October 26, 2017 at 4:55 PM
Font : A-A+

Pregnant Mothers Can Use Doppler Fetal Monitor at Home

Pregnant women who are at risk can use commercial Doppler fetal monitors at home to detect heart arrhythmias in their developing fetuses, reveals a new study.

The study was reported in the Journal of Perinatology, researchers from Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado).


While commercial Dopplers have been available for years, the research team led by Dr. Bettina Cuneo, director of Fetal Cardiology in the hospital's Colorado Fetal Care Center and professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, found them to detect problems in fetuses at risk for a severe rhythm problem called complete atrioventricular block (CAVB).

Around 3 percent of all pregnant women carry an antibody called anti-SSA, or Sjogren's antibody, which can be detected by a blood test.

In 4 percent of anti-SSA positive pregnancies, maternal antibodies cross the placenta at 18 weeks, causing inflammation and fibrosis of the fetal conduction system, resulting in CAVB. Once established, CAVB is irreversible and 31 percent of affected fetuses die in utero or in the first year of life.

If caught in the "emergent" stage the time of irregular rhythm when the fetal heart is transitioning from normal rhythm to CAVB there is an opportunity for treatment.

Although pregnant mothers who test positive for anti-SSA usually receive weekly echocardiograms from their provider, emergent CAVB develops within 24 hours, so surveillance by echo rarely has been successful.

For this study, Dr. Cuneo and her team recruited participants at 16-18 weeks of gestation and taught them how to use the Doppler fetal heart rate monitor two times per day. Participants were instructed to contact their provider immediately if the rhythm was irregular or they could not hear the heartbeat.

"Each year, approximately 120,000 pregnant women learn they carry the anti-SSA antibody, which can unfortunately result in the death of their fetus or newborn due to CAVB," said Dr. Cuneo.

"Through this international study, we found that the use of a simple fetal heart monitor by pregnant mothers is more effective, more convenient, more empowering and significantly less expensive to mothers. Given the ease of use and cost of access, we hope the study's results will encourage obstetricians internationally to consider using this technology with their patients."

In the pilot program, two mothers, whose in-office echo surveillance produced normal results, detected the irregular rhythm of emergent CAVB during home monitoring. In both cases, emergent CAVB developed in less than 24 hours. More than 220 anti-SSA positive mothers have now completed the study. Participants agreed that the process decreased stress, and all said they would monitor again in subsequent pregnancies.

"Learning I was positive for SSA antibodies and my unborn son was at an increased risk of developing fetal heart block was very overwhelming, but participating in this study helped me feel empowered," said Rachel Fedorczuk, a mother and participant in the Heart Sounds at Home study.

"Being able to listen to my son's heartbeat at home every day was a relief and truly a blessing. The home monitor, in conjunction with the care and support system I received from Children's Colorado, gave me great peace of mind. Participating in the study was an invaluable experience, and I took great comfort in knowing that if my son developed heart block while I was pregnant, his life could be saved. Every parent should have the same opportunity."

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Ultrasound Breech Presentation and Delivery Pregnancy and Complications Anemia in Pregnancy Iron & Folate Deficiency Anemia In Pregnancy Diet for Anemia in Pregnancy The Magic Feeling of Being A Mother Nocturnal Leg Cramps Stress and Miscarriage 

Recommended Reading
Sonography and Power Doppler Help in Early Diagnosis of Juvenile Arthritis
Doctors could make an early diagnosis of juvenile inflammatory arthritis (JIA) by combining ......
In Pregnant Women, Ultrasonic Testing With Doppler Imaging can Rule Out Blood Clots
To rule out blood clots in the legs of pregnant women, the use of serial compression ......
Exercise Helps in Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's disease can be dealt with, through exercise that increases the flow of blood to the ......
Anemia in Pregnancy
Anemia is the commonest blood disorder that may occur in pregnancy and is usually due to low iron or...
Breech Presentation and Delivery
Breech birth or presentation is delivery of the fetus in a bottom or foot-first position. Causes of ...
Diet for Anemia in Pregnancy
A modified diet rich in Folate, Vitamin B12 and Iron is essential for the rapid rise in hemoglobin ....
Iron & Folate Deficiency Anemia In Pregnancy
About 95% of the anemia cases are due to iron deficiency....
Nocturnal Leg Cramps
Nocturnal leg cramps are painful muscle contractions, which occur in the calf, foot or thigh muscles...
Pregnancy and Complications
In-depth guide for expecting mothers to overcome health complications related to early or late pregn...
Stress and Miscarriage
New research indicates that too much stress could lead to miscarriage. What are the risk factors to ...
The Magic Feeling of Being A Mother
Selecting the doctor who will help you in your pregnancy is a very personal decision. ...
Ultrasound scan or sonogram uses sound waves to obtain images of the internal organs. Ultrasound sca...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)