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Frequency Domain and Entropy Analysis of Fetal Heart Rate: Appealing Tools for Fetal Surveillance and Pharmacodynamic Assessment of Drugs

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Recently, frequency domain and entropy analysis of fetal heart rate (FHR) have been assessed in several studies, providing new insights into physiologic regulatory mechanisms, constituting appealing tools for pharmacodynamic assessment, namely during fetal life. There is evidence that entropy and frequency domain analysis convey information on cortical and autonomic nervous system activities, respectively. Use of internal versus external FHR acquisition sensors and the signal sampling frequency may dramatically affect results. Most FHR frequency domain indices are significantly increased with rising fetal activity, namely during active wakefulness and active sleep, whereas the opposite occurs with nonlinear indices. This is in favour of increased activity of the autonomous nervous system and decreased activity of the central nervous system complexity control systems, during periods of fetal activity. Progression of labor is associated with a significant increase in FHR frequency domain indices, whereas entropy indices are significantly decreased. This denotes activation of the autonomic nervous system in the final minutes of labour, associated with decreased central nervous system activity. The emerging knowledge on FHR frequency domain and entropy analysis substantiates a continued interest of these methods in evaluation of the fetal pathophysiologic regulatory mechanisms, and opens new perspectives for clinical and pharmacodynamic assessment.

Keywords: Fetal heart rate (FHR); acidemia; computerized analysis; external and internal monitoring; fetal behavioral states; frequency domain and entropy analysis

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-06-01

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  • Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for cardiovascular and hematological drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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