International Workshop on Pregnant Uterine
Smooth Muscle EMG Activity

11 and 12 July 2006

Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Dietmar Schlembach, MD

How could EMG recordings make a difference in the clinic

Preterm labour and resultant preterm delivery are the most important problems in obstetrics and perinatology. In the United States, 12% of neonates born each year are preterm accounting for over $5 billion of national health care expenditure.
Countless efforts have failed to establish a single effective treatment or prevention of preterm labour. Furthermore up to now proper diagnostic methods are missing and still only inaccurate and subjective methods are used for diagnosis or rule out of preterm labour. To date, (preterm) labour remains a clinical diagnosis. The currently used methods (tocodynamometer and intrauterine pressure catheter) are indirect or subjective and do not provide accurate differentiation between true and false labour or knowledge of when labour will occur. While some methods can identify signals of ongoing labour, none of the methods offer objective data that accurately predict labour.

Understanding the uterine physiology during term and preterm parturition is important for developing methods to control uterine function and to evaluate the effect of tocolytic treatment strategies. Uterine electromyography (EMG) allows reliable and immediate assessment of uterine contractility. EMG is recording uterine electric activity signals from the abdominal surface and can be used to assess the contractile function of the uterus. This method has been validated in animals, and preliminary studies in humans support its clinical use. EMG may supplement or replace the methods used currently to assess uterine function: The potential benefits of the proposed instrumentation and method include: improving diagnosis of (preterm) labour, reducing the rate of preterm delivery, improving maternal and perinatal outcome, monitoring treatment, decreasing cesarean section rate, and providing research methods to understand uterine function


Dietmar Schlembach, MD
Medical University of Graz, Dept. of OBGYN,
Auenbruggerplatz 14, 8036 Graz, Austria,
Phone: +43-316-385-81641, Fax: +43-316-385-3199,
email: dietmar.schlembach@meduni-graz.at


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