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[Intrapartum foetal monitoring: from stethoscope to ST analysis of the ECG].

Since the 1970s, intrapartum monitoring of the distressed foetus has been managed by continuous registration of the foetal heart rate, together with uterine activity (cardiotocogram; CTG). Use of CTG without additional foetal information leads to unnecessary interventions because of the high number of false-positive signals. Foetal blood sampling (FBS) is a solution to this problem, but is not always consistently carried out. Automated ST analysis of the foetal electrocardiogram (STAN method), combined with the CTG, may lead to reduction of metabolic acidosis, fewer interventions and fewer foetal blood samples. A disadvantage of application of the STAN method is that it is based on visual interpretation of the CTG, with large inter- and intraobserver variability. In spite of this shortcoming the method may be promising.

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