Peripartum hypoxic neonatal brain injury cannot be accurately predicted with current foetal monitoring techniques. Neonatal brain monitoring through amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG) is utilised when brain injury is suspected. Intrapartum aEEG assessment may improve detection of foetal hypoxia, facilitating earlier intervention. Using different engineered configurations in adult volunteers (n = 18), we monitored aEEG through application of two foetal scalp electrodes (FSEs). This aided development of a novel signal splitter, our Foetal heart rate and aEEG Monitoring System (FEMS) to monitor aEEG intrapartum. We then compared FEMS with gold-standard EEG monitoring simultaneously in two adults. Average percentage of interpretable aEEG signal was 61.3%, with the FEMS obtaining 72.15%. EEG signal on the aEEG device consistently showed a similar trace to gold standard EEG. This study demonstrates feasibility of aEEG monitoring in adults with FEMS utilising FSE inputs. An intrapartum foetal study utilising FEMS is due to commence shortly. IMPACT STATEMENTWhat is already known on this subject? Cardiotography, the current gold standard in foetal monitoring, is not associated with a reduction in cerebral palsy or infant mortality rates. Neonatal amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG) is an established method of monitoring brain function to guide commencing cooling therapy in suspected hypoxic brain injury. Intrapartum animal studies have illustrated foetal EEG changes reflecting evolving hypoxia.What do the results of this study add? This study demonstrates aEEG monitoring in human adult volunteers through application of foetal scalp electrodes and use of a novel signal splitter. This Foetal heart rate and aEEG Monitoring System (FEMS) provided a good overall percentage of aEEG signal, consistently showing a similar trace to gold standard EEG.What the implications are of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? This proof of principle study provides the first step in developing a novel intrapartum foetal monitoring technique to monitor foetal aEEG in labour. This provides an exciting prospect of transferring well established neonatal monitoring techniques to facilitate accurate brain function assessment intrapartum and early intervention to reduce hypoxic brain injury. An intrapartum foetal study of this technology is due to begin in the near future.
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