Intrapartum fetal heart rate monitoring in a combined low- and high-risk population: a controlled clinical trial

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1986 Oct;23(1-2):1-11. doi: 10.1016/0028-2243(86)90099-7.


In a prospective clinical randomized investigation 487 women had the condition of the fetus during labour supervised by means of stethoscope (AUS), while 482 women went through labour under surveillance of electronic fetal monitoring, cardiotocography (EFM). 349 women refused to participate in the investigation (NAI) and had delivery conducted according to the normal procedures of the department (70% AUS, 30% EFM). Significantly more pathological fetal heart rate patterns (FHR) were found in the EFM group compared to the AUS group in both the first and the second stage of labour. As a result significantly more vacuum extractions were performed in the EFM group than in the AUS group, while no statistical difference was found between the groups in the incidence of acute cesarean sections carried out for asphyxia. One case of intrapartum death occurred in the AUS group. No differences were found in Apgar scores after 1 and 5 min or in neonatal morbidity at examination on the 2nd and 5th days after delivery. A tendency towards more biochemically compromised children was found in the AUS group. The specificity for both methods was found to be acceptably high (80%), while the predictive value for both methods was low (50%). More research is therefore urgently needed to evaluate supplementary investigations and parameters for the evaluation of the intrapartum fetal condition.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium
  • Apgar Score
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / diagnosis*
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Extraction, Obstetrical
  • Female
  • Fetal Monitoring*
  • Heart Auscultation
  • Heart Rate, Fetal*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / diagnosis*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk