Design and in Vivo Evaluation of a Non-Invasive Transabdominal Fetal Pulse Oximeter

Daniel D. Fong, Kaeli J. Yamashiro, Kourosh Vali, Laura A. Galganski, Jameson Thies, Rasta Moeinzadeh, Christopher Pivetti, Andre Knoesen, Vivek J. Srinivasan, Herman L. Hedriana, Diana L. Farmer, Michael Austin Johnson, Soheil Ghiasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Current intrapartum fetal monitoring technology is unable to provide physicians with an objective metric of fetal well-being, leading to degraded patient outcomes and increased litigation costs. Fetal oxygen saturation (SpO2) is a more suitable measure of fetal distress, but the inaccessibility of the fetus prior to birth makes this impossible to capture through current means. In this paper, we present a fully non-invasive, transabdominal fetal oximetry (TFO) system that provides in utero measures of fetal SpO2. Methods: TFO is performed by placing a reflectance-mode optode on the maternal abdomen and sending photons into the body to investigate the underlying fetal tissue. The proposed TFO system design consists of a multi-detector optode, an embedded optode control system, and custom user-interface software. To evaluate the developed TFO system, we utilized an in utero hypoxic fetal lamb model and performed controlled desaturation experiments while capturing gold standard arterial blood gases (SaO2). Results: Various degrees of fetal hypoxia were induced with true SaO2 values ranging between 10.5% and 66%. The non-invasive TFO system was able to accurately measure these fetal SpO2 values, supported by a root mean-squared error of 6.37% and strong measures of agreement with the gold standard. Conclusion: The results support the efficacy of the presented TFO system to non-invasively measure a wide-range of fetal SpO2 values and identify critical levels of fetal hypoxia. Significance: TFO has the potential to improve fetal outcomes by providing obstetricians with a non-invasive measure of fetal oxygen saturation prior to delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9112327
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • fetal monitoring technology
  • hypoxic fetal lamb
  • Non-invasive medical devices
  • pulse oximetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Design and in Vivo Evaluation of a Non-Invasive Transabdominal Fetal Pulse Oximeter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this