Assessment of fetal scalp oxygen saturation determination in the sheep by transmission pulse oximetry

Mark J.M. Nijland, Uday Shankar, Vijay Iyer, Michael G. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring has an unacceptable false-positive nonreassuring rate, which results in an excess of operative interventions. As a more objective measure of fetal oxygenation, fetal scalp pulse oximetry has been used to assess fetal blood oxygen saturation (So2). The current devices use reflectance oximetry, which has inherent limitations. These include varying depths of signal penetration, variation with position, and potential for optical interference. In this study we evaluated a newly developed transmission pulse oximetry device consisting of transmitter and receiver diodes mounted within the coil of a standard scalp electrode (Spiral O2CTG; Respironics Inc, Marietta, Ga). STUDY DESIGN: Six pregnant ewes at 127 to 135 days' gestation (term, 145 days' gestation) were anesthetized, intubated, and prepared with a femoral artery catheter. Fetuses were prepared with brachial artery and jugular vein catheters. Maternal inspired oxygen fraction was titrated from 21% to 3%. Oximetry O2CTG devices were positioned on the fetal scalp, and recordings were compared with directly determined fetal arterial pH, Po2, and So2 values. RESULTS: Maternal Sao2 and Pao2 ranged from 102% to 16% and 110 to 18 mm Hg, respectively. Fetal Sao2 and Pao2 ranged from 76% to 12% and 28 to 8 mm Hg, respectively. There was excellent correlation between direct fetal Sao2 and scalp So2 (r2 = 0.90; scalp So2 = 0.79 Sao2 + 6.89). With an Sao2 of <30% as the cutoff point for assessment of fetal compromise, scalp So2 measurements had a 94% ± 10% specificity and a 94% ± 10% positive predictive value. CONCLUSION: (1) Preliminary studies of the Spiral O2CTG sensor demonstrated high correlation of scalp So2 with fetal Sao2. (2) Although potential inaccuracies remain, transmission oximetry may offer potential advantages in consistency, ease of application, and technology with respect to the current reflection oximeter devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1549-1553
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal scalp transmission pulse oximetry
  • Oxygen saturation
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of fetal scalp oxygen saturation determination in the sheep by transmission pulse oximetry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this