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Continuous electronic fetal heart rate (FHR) monitoring during labor is motivated by the clinical experience that fetal distress causes loss of FHR variation and the occurrence of decelerations late during uterine contraction. This practice is of uncertain clinical benefit, perhaps because the interpretation is qualitative. We have developed new quantitative measures and analyzed cardiotocograph records from 148 consecutive patients, 44 of whom had at least one "nonreassuring" epoch. In multivariate regression models, measures of deceleration and variability were significantly associated with the obstetrician's diagnosis (receiver operating characteristic area 0.84, p<0.05). This approach may be useful clinically.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2006