Prognostic components of computerized fetal biophysical testing

Lawrence D Devoe, Ramon A. Castillo, Nancy Searle, John S. Searle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Fetal biophysical testing with arbitrary scores for fetal heart rate (FHR), breathing movements, body movements, tone, and amniotic fluid volume has not proved to be highly sensitive or significantly better than FHR testing alone. Using a computerized analysis system for simultaneously acquired biophysical variables, we studied 200 high-risk fetuses near term. The dynamic parameters obtained for each fetus were compared with established nomograms, and overall test results correlated with the presence or absence of perinatal mortality, fetal distress, a 5-minute Apgar score <7, and intrauterine growth retardation for those delivered within 7 days of the last test. A test was considered abnormal if two or more parameters fell more than 2 standard deviations from the population mean. A decreased incidence of fetal body movements, amniotic fluid volume, and frequency of FHR acceleration were the most common individual test abnormalities. Test sensitivity (86%), specificity (89%), positive predictive value (75%), and negative predictive value (93%) exceeded those of the “standard” scoring approach and correctly identified all fetuses with malformation, perinatal death, and 19 of 22 fetuses with intrauterine growth retardation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1148
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


  • Fetal biophysical testing
  • computers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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