City Research Online

A study of an intelligent system to support decision making in the management of labour using the cardiotocograph - the INFANT study protocol

Brocklehurst, P. & INFANT Collaborative Grp, (2016). A study of an intelligent system to support decision making in the management of labour using the cardiotocograph - the INFANT study protocol. BMC PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH, 16, 10. doi: 10.1186/s12884-015-0780-0


Continuous electronic fetal heart rate monitoring in labour is widely used but its potential for improving fetal and neonatal outcomes has not been realised. The most likely reason is the difficulty of interpreting the fetal heart rate trace correctly during labour. Computerised interpretation of the fetal heart rate and intelligent decision-support has the potential to deliver this improvement in care.

This trial will test whether the addition of decision support software to aid the interpretation of the cardiotocogram (CTG) during labour will reduce the number of ‘poor neonatal outcomes’ in those women judged to require continuous electronic fetal heart rate monitoring.

Methods and design
An individually randomised controlled trial of 46,000 women who are judged to require continuous electronic fetal monitoring in labour.

Eligibility criteria: Women admitted to a participating labour ward who are judged to require continuous electronic fetal monitoring, have a singleton or twin pregnancy, are ≥ 35 weeks’ gestation, have no known gross fetal abnormality and are ≥ 16 years of age.

Exclusion criteria: Triplets or higher order pregnancy, elective caesarean section prior to the onset of labour, planned admission to NICU.

Trial interventions: Computerised interpretation of the CTG with decision-support.

Primary outcomes: Short term: A composite of ‘poor neonatal outcome’ including stillbirth after trial entry, early neonatal death except deaths due to congenital anomalies, significant morbidity: neonatal encephalopathy, admissions to the neonatal unit with 48 h for > 48 h with evidence of feeding difficulties, respiratory illness or encephalopathy where there is evidence of compromise at birth. Long term: Developmental assessment at the age of 2 years in a subset of 7000 surviving babies.

Data Collection: For all participating women and babies, labour variables and outcomes will be stored automatically and contemporaneously onto the Guardian® system.

The results of this trial will have importance for pregnant women and for health professionals who provide care for them.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 Brocklehurst. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Publisher Keywords: Monitoring, Labour, Computerised, Interpretation, Decision support, Cardiotocogram, Continuous electronic fetal monitoring
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login