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Fetal Pulse Oximetry


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: March 2011 - Volume 54 - Issue 1 - p 66–73
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31820a0f71
Intrapartum Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring

The original expectation of fetal pulse oximetry (FPO) for the field of obstetrics was predicated on the tremendous positive impact pulse oximetry had upon the fields of anesthesiology, critical care medicine, and many other disciplines of medicine. With the general acceptance that many, if not most, concerning fetal heart rate patterns are not associated with significant fetal hypoxemia and acidemia, the additional physiologic information FPO offers (ie, actual arterial blood oxygenation) was believed and hoped by many to be the reassurance that would allow safe avoidance of unnecessary interventions such as cesarean delivery. To date, FPO has not met that expectation, not because of its inability to measure fetal arterial oxygen saturation, but because of its inability to do so with a reduction in overall cesarean deliveries.

Maternal Fetal Medicine Center, St Mark's Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah

MountainStar Division, Hospital Corporation of America, Nashville, Tennessee

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

Correspondence: Gary A. Dildy, MD, Maternal Fetal Medicine Center, St Mark's Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT. e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.