CDT Postgraduate Studentship in Healthcare Innovation (RCUK Digital Economy Programme grant number EP/G036861/1)
Perinatal Multisensor Monitoring System for Low-resource Settings
Foetal and maternal health is a major global health concern. Foetal mortality was estimated 2.5 million worldwide in 2008-2009, while 360.000 women were dying of pregnancy-related complications. Close to 99% of foetal and maternal deaths occur in developing countries. One approach to contribute to the prevention of avoidable deaths and disabilities is accessible perinatal risk screening and appropriate medical referral.
My research investigates the concept of an affordable, non-invasive and easy-to-use perinatal monitoring system for resource-constrained environments. A system is being built combining multiple low-cost sensors connected to a smart phone to enable signal processing. The concept focusses on the assessment of three indicators for foetal wellbeing; the foetal heart rhythm, foetal growth and foetal presentation. The foetal cardiac activity is sensed using a 1D ultrasonic probe; a maternal pulse oximeter is connected with the aim to cancel contamination introduced by the mother’s heartbeat using source separation techniques. The use of the in-built phone accelerometer is being investigated to locate the ultrasound probe, enabling the estimation of the foetal position based on the cardiac activity, and to derive the size of the foetus. Primary development work will include the establishment of applicable signal quality metrics and appropriate signal processing algorithms.