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To investigate the effect of maternal hyperoxygenation on fetal heart rate (FHR) when applied for suspected fetal distress during the second stage of term labor. A single-center randomized controlled trial was conducted in a tertiary care hospital in The Netherlands. Participants were included during the second stage of labor in case of an intermediary or abnormal FHR pattern. Patients were randomized to receive either 100% oxygen at 10 l/min until delivery, or conventional care without additional oxygen. The primary outcome was the change in FHR pattern before and after the onset of the study, measured as the change in depth and duration of FHR decelerations. Secondary outcome measures were features based on phase-rectified signal averaging (PRSA), baseline assignability, and deceleration characteristics of the FHR pattern. Between March 2016 and April 2018, 117 women were included. The FHR pattern could be analyzed for 71 participants, the other 46 women delivered before the end of the post time-frame. A 2.3% reduction in depth and duration of FHR decelerations was found after maternal hyperoxygenation, compared to a 10% increase in the control group (p = 0.24). Maternal hyperoxygenation had a significantly positive effect on PRSA metrics, with a decrease in PRSA-acceleration capacity (p = 0.03) and PRSA-deceleration capacity (p = 0.02) in the intervention group compared to the control group. The difference in depth and duration of decelerations after the start of the study was not significantly different between both study groups. A statistically significant positive effect on PRSA-deceleration capacity and PRSA-acceleration capacity was found after maternal hyperoxygenation, which might be associated with a positive effect on neonatal outcome.


S Moors, R Joshi, L M Bullens, N H M van Oostrum, M Regis, E R van den Heuvel, S G Oei, J O E H van Laar, M B van der Hout-van der Jagt. A randomized controlled trial studying the effect of maternal hyperoxygenation on fetal heart rate in suspected fetal distress. Physiological measurement. 2020 Dec 11;41(11):115002

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PMID: 33049730

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