Noninvasive monitoring of fetal heart rate during the last ten days of gestation in sows

S. Cohen From the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht (Cohen, van Oord, Jonker, van der Weijden, Taverne), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Utrecht University Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht (Mulder), The Netherlands.

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E. J. H. Mulder From the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht (Cohen, van Oord, Jonker, van der Weijden, Taverne), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Utrecht University Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht (Mulder), The Netherlands.

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H. A. van Oord From the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht (Cohen, van Oord, Jonker, van der Weijden, Taverne), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Utrecht University Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht (Mulder), The Netherlands.

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F. H. Jonker From the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht (Cohen, van Oord, Jonker, van der Weijden, Taverne), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Utrecht University Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht (Mulder), The Netherlands.

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G. C. van der Weijden From the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht (Cohen, van Oord, Jonker, van der Weijden, Taverne), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Utrecht University Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht (Mulder), The Netherlands.

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M. A. M. Taverne From the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht (Cohen, van Oord, Jonker, van der Weijden, Taverne), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Utrecht University Hospital, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht (Mulder), The Netherlands.

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SUMMARY

Objective

To develop and evaluate a noninvasive technique for monitoring and analyzing porcine fetal heart rate (FHR) during late gestation.

Animals

8 fetuses of 8 pluriparous sows in late gestation.

Procedure

With the sow positioned in lateral recumbency, the most caudal fetus was identified, using real time ultrasonography, and its heart rate was recorded for 60 minutes by use of Doppler cardiography. The same fetus was identified and monitored repeatedly during the last 10 days of gestation, excluding the 24 hours before delivery. Visual inspection and computerized analysis of the recordings were performed.

Results

66 one-hour recordings were obtained from 8 fetuses, 1 in each of 8 sows. Mean signal loss was 37.5%. Episodes of low FHR and low FHR variation (FHR pattern A) alternated with episodes of high FHR and high FHR variation (FHR pattern B). This cyclic alternation between 2 distinct FHR patterns was observed in 46 of 66 (69.7%) recordings, and suggests the presence of different behavioral states in fetal pigs. Basal FHR decreased toward parturition in 7 fetuses, but increased in 1 fetus with abdominal ascites. Basal FHR and long-term FHR variation were negatively correlated (r[S) = −0.73; P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Noninvasive monitoring of FHR is possible and feasible during late gestation in pigs. This method permits longitudinal studies under pathophysiologic conditions and the evaluation of the effects of endogenous and exogenous influences on porcine FHR. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1285–1290)

SUMMARY

Objective

To develop and evaluate a noninvasive technique for monitoring and analyzing porcine fetal heart rate (FHR) during late gestation.

Animals

8 fetuses of 8 pluriparous sows in late gestation.

Procedure

With the sow positioned in lateral recumbency, the most caudal fetus was identified, using real time ultrasonography, and its heart rate was recorded for 60 minutes by use of Doppler cardiography. The same fetus was identified and monitored repeatedly during the last 10 days of gestation, excluding the 24 hours before delivery. Visual inspection and computerized analysis of the recordings were performed.

Results

66 one-hour recordings were obtained from 8 fetuses, 1 in each of 8 sows. Mean signal loss was 37.5%. Episodes of low FHR and low FHR variation (FHR pattern A) alternated with episodes of high FHR and high FHR variation (FHR pattern B). This cyclic alternation between 2 distinct FHR patterns was observed in 46 of 66 (69.7%) recordings, and suggests the presence of different behavioral states in fetal pigs. Basal FHR decreased toward parturition in 7 fetuses, but increased in 1 fetus with abdominal ascites. Basal FHR and long-term FHR variation were negatively correlated (r[S) = −0.73; P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Noninvasive monitoring of FHR is possible and feasible during late gestation in pigs. This method permits longitudinal studies under pathophysiologic conditions and the evaluation of the effects of endogenous and exogenous influences on porcine FHR. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1285–1290)

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