The objective of this study was to quantify the number of segments that have contractile activity and determine the propagation speed from uterine electrophysiological signals recorded over the abdomen. The uterine magnetomyographic (MMG) signals were recorded with a 151 channel SARA (SQUID Array for Reproductive Assessment) system from 36 pregnant women between 37 and 40 weeks of gestational age. The MMG signals were scored and segments were classified based on presence of uterine contractile burst activity. The sensor space was then split into four quadrants and in each quadrant signal strength at each sample was calculated using center-of-gravity (COG). To this end, the cross-correlation analysis of the COG was performed to calculate the delay between pairwise combinations of quadrants. The relationship in propagation across the quadrants was quantified and propagation speeds were calculated from the delays. MMG recordings were successfully processed from 25 subjects and the average values of propagation speeds ranged from 1.3-9.5 cm/s, which was within the physiological range. The propagation was observed between both vertical and horizontal quadrants confirming multidirectional propagation. After the multiple pairwise test (99% CI), significant differences in speeds can be observed between certain vertical or horizontal combinations and the crossed pair combinations. The number of segments containing contractile activity in any given quadrant pair with a detectable delay was significantly higher in the lower abdominal pairwise combination as compared to all others. The quadrant-based approach using MMG signals provided us with high spatial-temporal information of the uterine contractile activity and will help us in the future to optimize abdominal electromyographic (EMG) recordings that are practical in a clinical setting.
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Escalona-Vargas, D., Govindan, R. B., Furdea, A., Murphy, P., Lowery, C. L., & Eswaran, H. (2015). Characterizing the Propagation of Uterine Electrophysiological Signals Recorded with a Multi-Sensor Abdominal Array in Term Pregnancies. PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0140894. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140894