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Non-invasive sensing of pH and lactate in newborns during delivery

Monday, September 23, 2019 - 11:00
nanoGUNE seminar room, Tolosa Hiribidea 76, Donostia - San Sebastian
Ion Olaetxea, Nanoengineering Group
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Current methods used for monitoring health status and risks of newborns during delivery do not allow either a proper, efficient or unequivocal control, resulting in a considerable raise in the awareness at social and medical level. Besides, in recent years the number of high-risk births has exponentially grown as a consequence of an increase of the age of mothers or the existence of a previous cesarean section.

During delivery, fetuses might suffer from oxygen deficiency (hypoxia). If hypoxia is prolonged, risk of cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and neonatal mortality are severely increased. Indeed, a lack of oxygen supply activates the anaerobic metabolism of glucose, giving rise to metabolic acidosis (higher hydrogen concentration) by means of pyruvate production and a certain conversion of it to lactate.

The gold standard to identify hypoxia in fetuses is the combination of Cardiotocography (CTG) and Foetal Blood Sampling (FBS). However, this technical procedure presents a number of disadvantages: (i) It is invasive and uncomfortable for the mother; (ii) it is discontinuous; (iii) it has an important failure rate and an excessively high measurement time is required. Therefore, the development of a new sensing method integrated into a vaginal disposable probe that allows to continuously monitor pH and lactate values in a non-invasive manner represents a clinically highly desirable innovation.

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