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Home Wellness Research Electronic Fetal Monitoring Whither Electronic Fetal Monitoring?

Whither Electronic Fetal Monitoring?

Thursday, 18 December 2008 10:14

Largely based on promising animal studies, continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) was introduced into clinical practice in the early 1970s. After almost 20 years of experience, it is now apparent that the anticipated benefits of this technology have not materialized. Undesirable side effects of EFM include inappropriate operative intervention for some patients and increased liability for physicians and hospitals, resulting in an increase in the costs of obstetric services. After reviewing several research studies, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded that EFM and intermittent auscultation are equivalent methods for intrapartum assessment.

We have developed a protocol for the performance of intermittent auscultation, including indicated responses to different levels of bradycardia. This protocol has allowed us to substitute auscultation for EFM in a high percentage of patients using existing nursing personnel. Laboring patients should, at a minimum, receive information on both intermittent auscultation and EFM to enable them to make an informed choice of method for intrapartum fetal assessment. Author-abstract. 30 Refs.

Sandmire, H. F. 1990.  Obst Gyn 76:1130-4.