A novel wearable, unobtrusive flexible patch designed to facilitate continuous monitoring of fetal heart rate (fHR) and ECG by pregnant women in a home setting.
·Continuous fHR and ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring by expectant mothers to ensure health and well-being of the fetus at all stages of the development
·The device can also be used as a diagnostic tool for detecting for fetal heart abnormality in the gestation period
·Resolves problems with the state-of-the-art cardiac monitoring systems that are bulky, costly and intrusive
·Does not require use of ultrasound, which can be expensive and raise safety concerns for the fetus especially with repeated uses
·Allows for continuous fetal heart rate and ECG monitoring in real time
Current fetal cardiac monitoring technologies are limited to clinical settings, which cannot be used for continuous monitoring and the more recent portable devices are either bulky, intrusive, expensive or difficult to use for non-medical personnel. Typical devices fail to provide monitoring and detection of fetal ECG and changes in waveform characteristics, which is also crucial in determining cardiac health development of the fetus.
The researchers at UCI created a novel, wearable medical device, worn as a patch on the abdominal area or integrated into a garment. The patch is unobtrusive, compact, cost-effective, water-proof and reliable. This device is being investigated as a diagnostic tool beyond passive monitoring.
Working prototypes have been fabricated and plans for trials at the UC Irvine medical center.