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Use of diagnostic imaging procedures and fetal monitoring devices in the care of pregnant women.
  • Published Date:
    1990 Sep-Oct
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 105(5):471-475
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-868.96 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
  • Description:
    Medical devices and diagnostic imaging procedures such as ultrasound, X-rays, and electronic fetal monitoring devices are used in the medical care of many pregnant women today. The responsibility for the safety and effectiveness of these diagnostic technologies is shared by a number of Public Health Service agencies, one of which is the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), a unit within the Food and Drug Administration. The CDRH collaborated with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in conducting a study of recent trends in the uses of diagnostic ultrasound, medical X-rays, and electronic fetal monitoring devices in the medical care of pregnant women. This study used data from the 1980 National Natality and Fetal Mortality Surveys and the 1987 pretest to the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey. Hospitals and prenatal care providers of the pregnant women contributed information regarding the use of these medical devices. Between 1980 and 1987, ultrasound use more than doubled, increasing from 33.5 percent of pregnancies in 1980 to 78.8 percent in 1987 (P less than 0.001). More ultrasound examinations were performed earlier in gestation in 1987 than in 1980, with 10.1 percent being performed during the first trimester in 1987, compared with 6.9 percent in 1980 (P less than 0.001). Use of external electronic fetal monitoring devices during delivery also increased significantly between 1980 and 1987, from 33.5 percent to 74.6 percent (P less than 0.001). Use of medical X-rays among women with live births remained relatively unchanged, 15.0 percent in 1980 and 15.3 percent in 1987 (P = .282). The implications of these trends are discussed.
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