Change in electrocardiogram T-wave amplitude during umbilical cord compression is predictive of fetal condition in sheep

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 Jan;166(1 Pt 1):246-55. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(92)91867-a.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to assess the usefulness of the dynamic change in T/QRS ratio in fetal electrocardiograms in predicting the fetal condition when repetitive variable decelerations are seen in intrapartum cardiotocograms.

Study design: We investigated the relationship, using linear regression and Wilcoxon's test, between T/QRS and blood gas values, catecholamine concentrations, and blood pressure during repetitive cord compression in five chronically instrumented lamb fetuses.

Results: T/QRS during cord compression correlated significantly (p less than 0.01) with fetal arterial pH (r = -0.7711), norepinephrine concentration (r = 0.7551), and duration of elevated blood pressure during compression (r = -0.8619). Fetal arterial pH and base excess were lower, the duration of elevated blood pressure during compression was shorter, and carbon dioxide partial pressure and catecholamine concentrations were higher in the stage with higher (greater than 0.50) T/QRS during compression (p less than 0.005).

Conclusion: We can estimate the severity of fetal distress by measuring T/QRS near the bottom of the decelerations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Constriction
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Sheep
  • Umbilical Arteries
  • Umbilical Cord / physiology*


  • Norepinephrine