Improved FPGA controlled artificial vascular system for plethysmographic measurements
The fetal oxygen saturation is an important parameter to determine the health status of a fetus, which is until now mostly acquired invasively. The transabdominal, fetal pulse oximetry is a promising approach to measure this non-invasively and continuously. The fetal pulse curve has to be extracted from the mixed signal of mother and fetus to determine its oxygen saturation. For this purpose efficient algorithms are necessary, which have to be evaluated under constant and reproducable test conditions. This paper presents the improved version of a phantom which can generate artificial pulse waves in a synthetic tissue phantom. The tissue phantom consists of several layers that mimic the different optical properties of the fetal and maternal tissue layers. Additionally an artificial vascular system and a dome, which mimics the bending of the belly of a pregnant woman, are incorporated. To obtain data on the pulse waves, several measurement methods are included, to help understand the behavior of the signals gained from the pulse waves. Besides pressure sensors and a transmissive method we integrated a capacitive approach, that makes use of the so called “Pin Oscillator” method. Apart from the enhancements in the tissue phantom and the measurements, we also improved the used blood substitute, which reproduces the different absorption characteristics of fetal and maternal blood. The results show that the phantom can generate pulse waves similar to the natural ones. Furthermore, the phantom represents a reference that can be used to evaluate the algorithms for transabdominal, fetal pulse oximetry.