Royal Philips Electronics has recently announced that its Avalon Smart Pulse is available globally. The technology can automatically detect situations where the maternal pulse could be confused with the fetal heart rate.
And it does so without the need to apply additional electrodes or sensors.
As the press release explains:
Traditionally, clinicians rely on two methods to measure maternal pulse: ECG and SpO2. In most pregnancies, however, these are not routinely monitored. In situations where ECG and SpO2 data is not collected, Smart Pulse automatically kicks in to provide the maternal pulse reading. Smart Pulse technology is built into the Toco MP transducer, the new uterine activity transducer, which is then routinely placed on the mother’s abdomen to record uterine contractions during labor and delivery. Using a heart rate comparison technique known as “coincidence detection,” the maternal pulse is continuously compared with the fetal heart rate and provides an important backup to the traditional ECG electrodes or SpO2 sensors, which may become disconnected or are often not used at all. Since Smart Pulse is part of routine monitoring and is “always on” by continuously calculating without the need for additional wires or sensors, it provides comfort for mothers.
Medgadget recently had the chance to ask David Russell, Philips Healthcare VP and General Manager of Mother and Child Care, Patient Care and Clinical Informatics for some more information on the technology:
This question focuses on the technology used to determine when the maternal heart rate is being picked up instead of the intended fetal heart rate. We call this Cross Channel Verification (CCV), an algorithm that was introduced years ago. CCV compares the fetal heart rate with the maternal pulse, and if they correlate for some time, a coincidence warning is issued. However, until now, this required either connecting an additional ECG cable and electrodes to the mother, or attaching a pulse oximeter sensor to the mother — an additional step, which is often not used. The unique Smart Pulse technology allows us to detect the maternal pulse measurement through the same toco transducer that is monitoring the contractions and applied in routine fetal heart rate monitoring. This means that mom and baby are being monitored, even if the ECG and SpO2 sensors are not used.
Russell goes on to explain how the technology is unique:
No competitor offers similar technology. The beauty of the Smart Pulse technology is that it is integrated into the Toco transducer that is placed on the mother’s abdomen and therefore cannot be forgotten, and is consequently “always on.” This gives the caregivers reassurance that both mom and baby are being monitored. In addition, with our intent to make a positive difference to care delivery, we have decided to make this a standard feature on all new Philips Avalon Fetal Monitor models shipped.
Product page: Avalon FM40 and FM50 fetal monitors
Flashback: New Fetal-Maternal Monitors from Philips