Antepartum cardiotocography: A study of fetal reactivity in frequency domain

Maria Romano, Marcello Bracale, Mario Cesarelli, Marta Campanile, Paolo Bifulco, Marianna De Falco, Mario Sansone, Andrea Di Lieto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiotocography (CTG) is the most widely used diagnostic technique in clinical practice to monitor fetal health. Cardiotocographic recording also permits to assess maturation of the fetal autonomous nervous system (ANS): fetal heart rate (FHR) modifications may reveal ANS' reactions to stimuli. To assess fetal reactivity, physicians evaluate specific clinical CTG parameters, generally, by means of visual inspection, thus depending on observer's expertise, with lack of reproducibility. Still nowadays, there is a very high intra- and inter-observer variation in the assessment of FHR patterns. More objective methods for CTG interpretation are of crucial importance. For adults, frequency analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) is a non-invasive and powerful method to investigate ANS activity. This frequency analysis can also be a valid support for a better knowledge of fetal ANS functional state and reactions. Indeed, fetal HRV is a good indicator of fetal well-being in non-stress conditions. Fetal reactivity is a very important CTG characteristic used to diagnose fetal distress, but its interpretation is still uncertain. The aim of this study is to characterise fetal reactivity proposing new fetal HRV frequency parameters to support a more exhaustive CTG analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-633
Number of pages15
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Cardiotocography
  • Computerised spectral analysis
  • Fetal heart rate variability
  • Fetal reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Antepartum cardiotocography: A study of fetal reactivity in frequency domain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this