Life Saving Devices

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Fetal heart rate monitor

 Tackling deaths from birth complications

  • Each year the deaths of 2 million babies are linked to complications during birth and the burden is inequitably carried by the poor.
  • In South Africa 20 000 infants are stillborn annually, while a similar number of liveborn infants die soon after birth.
  • Many of these deaths could be saved and many cases of brain injury avoided by better fetal monitoring in labour.
  • The Doppler ultrasound fetal heart rate monitor is a device to easily and accurately count the fetal heart rate while the mother is in labour. A slowing of the fetal heart rate towards the end of a uterine contraction is a very important way of identifying a fetus that is not receiving enough oxygen and may die or suffer brain damage.
  • The measurement of the fetal heart rate is critical to determining which of the 135 million births annually require further attention, immediate care and/or referral to a better facility.
  • Current methods to measure the fetal heart rate are either too expensive, too inaccurate or rely on replaceable batteries or mains electricity.
  • Hence the need for an innovative power independent, affordable and accurate fetal heart rate monitor.

The Doppler ultrasound fetal heart rate monitor is a device to easily and accurately count the fetal heart rate while the mother is in labour. A slowing of the fetal heart rate towards the end of a uterine contraction is a very important way of identifying a fetus that is not receiving enough oxygen and may die or suffer brain damage.

In South Africa 20 000 infants are stillborn annually, while a similar number of liveborn infants die soon after birth. Many of these deaths could be saved and many cases of brain injury avoided by better fetal monitoring in labour. Commonly used current methods are either too expensive, too inaccurate or rely on replaceable batteries or mains electricity. Hence the need for an innovative power independent monitor.

The fetal heart rate monitor is manufactured by Philips. This device meets European regulatory standards and is now in production. Click here for more information.