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Vol. 95, Issue 8, August 2008, pp.108-127




Development of Portable Phonocardiographic Fetal Heart Rate Monitor


Jianfeng Chen, Koksoon Phua, Ying Song

Institute for Infocomm Research

21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119613

Tel.: +65-68748401, E-mail: ksphua@i2r.a-star.edu.sg



Received: 31 March 2008   /Accepted: 15 August 2008   /Published: 25 August 2008


Abstract: In this paper we present a portable PDA-based fetal heart monitor that is able to provide instantaneous fetal heart rate (FHR) for pregnant women. Several signal processing techniques are implemented in the device to make it clear, reliable and ease-to-use. A modified spectral subtraction algorithm is first used to remove the unwanted stationary background noise from the noisy fetal heart sound. The AM/FM modulation technique is then employed to make the fetal heart sound more audible so that both pregnant women and gynecologists can identify the rhythmic fetal heart beat sounds easily. A real-time algorithm is proposed to extract the fetal heart rate information from the weak and noisy signals. Furthermore, based on the signal spectrum distribution, a confidence factor (CF) is designed to indicate the reliability of the estimated fetal heart rate in real time. In turn, CF can also be used to guide the user to locate the optimum auscultation position during the initial search stage. The device has been tested in a local hospital on a sample group of 41 pregnant women. Our finding shows that an approximate 75% of the pregnant mothers are able to hear their baby’s heart sound clearly using our device. Tests are also carried out to compare the fetal heart rate calculated using our device and the existing ultrasound cardiotocography (CTG) machine. In most time our device functions properly and provides results close to the CTG records.


Keywords: Fetal Heart Monitoring, Phonocardiographic, Fetal Heart Rate, Biomedical Signal Processing


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