Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Helps Fetal Hearts Beat Loud And Clear

Date:
February 25, 2002
Source:
National Aeronautics And Space Administration
Summary:
February is American Heart Month, and by keeping track of some very small American hearts with a new, portable fetal heart monitor, NASA technology is relieving some of the worry of high-risk pregnancies.

February is American Heart Month, and by keeping track of some very small American hearts with a new, portable fetal heart monitor, NASA technology is relieving some of the worry of high-risk pregnancies.

Researchers from NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., worked with Baby Beats Inc., and Washington State University's Small Business Development Center -- both based in Spokane -- to transfer and develop aerospace technology originally created to better understand airflow over airplane wings into a portable, non-invasive, easy-to-use fetal heart monitor.

"Because the material we used for wing-surface measurements is flexible, it's ideally suited to fit over the curved surface of a maternal abdomen for fetal testing," said Allan Zuckerwar of Langley's Advanced Measurement and Diagnostics Branch.

Current fetal heart-monitoring devices generally work well but cost many thousands of dollars and most can only be used in a clinic or doctor's office. NASA developed the portable technology by responding to a request for assistance from Dr. Donald Baker, a physician whose practice includes remote areas where appropriate health care is difficult to obtain. For several reasons, when expectant mothers do not receive necessary prenatal care, the result is often increased fetal mortality.

In its present form, an at-home patient would place the saucer-shaped monitor on her belly and tune a computerized control device to hear the fetal heartbeat. She would then adjust for the strongest signal, which can be transmitted directly to the doctor's office over her phone line.

Baby Beats Inc., Dr. Baker's newly formed company, plans to begin manufacturing and marketing the monitor in the next several months. Patients of Glendale Adventist Hospital in Los Angeles will use the monitor first.

Baker's concern for tiny hearts began more than 25 years ago when the need for a portable heart rate monitor first occurred to him during obstetrics rounds in medical school. He watched as an unborn baby's heart rate, monitored by a fetal heart monitor strapped to the mother's belly, suddenly became dangerously irregular. A nurse hurried over and turned the pregnant woman on her side. The baby was inadvertently sitting on its own umbilical cord, choking itself, the nurse explained.

"I was just shocked, absolutely shocked," said Baker. "I knew we needed to create a way for mothers to take the monitor home with them."

Today, Baker envisions mothers with high-risk pregnancies and those who have trouble traveling to a doctor's office as the primary users of the monitor. His commitment to the need heightened after working as a family doctor in the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana early in his career. Baker, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa, said pregnant mothers living in remote areas might be hours from a doctor's office and may not have the financial resources to get there. But inner city mothers who have difficulty making it to a clinic could use it too, he says. In fact, most women with high-risk pregnancies could benefit from the monitor.

"Whether they are rich or poor, mothers love their babies," the Spokane physician said. "They want to take care of their baby but, when they are hours away from health care, it's very hard. This helps dignify health care and puts control in the parents' hands."

Baker secured a license from NASA, which shares space-age technology with the business world, to develop an affordable, practical way to manufacture the monitor. And, Baker said, it is as easy to use as tuning a radio.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Aeronautics And Space Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA Helps Fetal Hearts Beat Loud And Clear." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020225085008.htm>.
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. (2002, February 25). NASA Helps Fetal Hearts Beat Loud And Clear. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020225085008.htm
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA Helps Fetal Hearts Beat Loud And Clear." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020225085008.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins