PSD modifications of FHRV due to interpolation and CTG storage rate

M. Cesarelli, M. Romano, M. Ruffo, P. Bifulco, G. Pasquariello, A. Fratini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiotocographic data provide physicians information about foetal development and permit to assess conditions such as foetal distress. An incorrect evaluation of the foetal status can be of course very dangerous. To improve interpretation of cardiotocographic recordings, great interest has been dedicated to foetal heart rate variability spectral analysis. It is worth reminding, however, that foetal heart rate is intrinsically an uneven series, so in order to produce an evenly sampled series a zero-order, linear or cubic spline interpolation can be employed. This is not suitable for frequency analyses because interpolation introduces alterations in the foetal heart rate power spectrum. In particular, interpolation process can produce alterations of the power spectral density that, for example, affects the estimation of the sympatho-vagal balance (computed as low-frequency/high-frequency ratio), which represents an important clinical parameter. In order to estimate the frequency spectrum alterations of the foetal heart rate variability signal due to interpolation and cardiotocographic storage rates, in this work, we simulated uneven foetal heart rate series with set characteristics, their evenly spaced versions (with different orders of interpolation and storage rates) and computed the sympatho-vagal balance values by power spectral density. For power spectral density estimation, we chose the Lomb method, as suggested by other authors to study the uneven heart rate series in adults. Summarising, the obtained results show that the evaluation of SVB values on the evenly spaced FHR series provides its overestimation due to the interpolation process and to the storage rate. However, cubic spline interpolation produces more robust and accurate results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedical Signal Processing and Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Cardiotocography
  • FHRV
  • Lomb method
  • Sympatho-vagal balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Signal Processing


Dive into the research topics of 'PSD modifications of FHRV due to interpolation and CTG storage rate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this