Where Ideas grow

Monitoring & Simulation of Perinatal Asphyxia


The main aim of the group is the development of methods to improve clinical care during labour and delivery, in order to contribute to a reduction in fetal asphyxia, the accompanying perinatal mortality and neurological sequelae.

The current focus is on two research problems:

1. Visual analysis of intrapartum fetal heart rate tracings by healthcare professionals is poorly reproducible and computer analysis is a possible way of overcoming the problem. The team worked in close collaboration with the Medical School at the University of Porto and the S. João Hospital in Porto, to develop a system for computer analysis of fetal heart rate signals, commercialised in 2006 by Speculum Lda. (Lisbon, Portugal) under the name Omniview-SisPorto®.  Current focus is on optimisation and the clinical validation of the system. A randomised clinical trial was started in 2011 involving five hospitals in the United Kingdom. Additional information can be obtained at http://sisporto.med.up.pt and http://www.omniview.eu/.

2. Intrapartum complications leading to perinatal asphyxia are rare and complex to manage. Simulation-based sessions to train healthcare professionals are a way of increasing knowledge, technical skills, communication and teamwork competencies in this area. The team specialises in the development of mathematical models of human physiology to integrate educational simulators for training of healthcare professionals. It also develops educational curricula for simulation-based medical training in the perinatal area. A collaboration was established with CEA Healthcare (Sarasota, USA) to develop a high-fidelity delivery simulator and training programme that was launched in January 2014 under the name Fidelis http://www.caehealthcare.com/patient-simulators/maternal-fetal-childbirth-simulator.



The group has developed two software products that were successfully integrated into commercial products: one that is part of routine clinical use in several hospitals in Europe, Asia and South America (Omniview-SisPorto, Speculum, Lisbon, Portugal), and one that is used for training of healthcare professionals in several simulation centres in North America and Europe (Fidelis, CAE Healthcare, Sarasota, USA). With the transfer of the developed products into the commercial market, the main focus of the group has been redirected to the clinical validation of these systems. As a consequence, the team is constituted mainly by medical staff dedicating most of their time to clinical research involving the developed products. Such a focus is felt to be important for the successful validation of the products and as a support to their integration into routine clinical care. 

The Omniview-SisPorto system for computer analysis of cardiotocograms and the Fidelis obstetric simulator.