Direct assessment of blood oxygenation in the human placenta can provide information about placental function. However, the monitoring of placental oxygenation involves invasive sampling or imaging techniques that are poorly suited for bedside use. Here we show that placental oxygen haemodynamics can be non-invasively probed in real time and up to 4.2 cm below the body surface via concurrent frequency-domain diffuse optical spectroscopy and ultrasound imaging. We developed a multimodal instrument to facilitate the assessment of the properties of the anterior placenta by leveraging image-reconstruction algorithms that integrate ultrasound information about the morphology of tissue layers with optical information on haemodynamics. In a pilot investigation involving placentas with normal function (15 women) or abnormal function (9 women) from pregnancies in the third trimester, we found no significant differences in baseline haemoglobin properties, but statistically significant differences in the haemodynamic responses to maternal hyperoxia. Our findings suggest that the non-invasive monitoring of placental oxygenation may aid the early detection of placenta-related adverse pregnancy outcomes and maternal vascular malperfusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science Applications