To perform fetal MCG, Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) sensors are placed at various points on the motherís abdomen. The sensors amplify the electromagnetic signals. Then, a computer analyzes and processes the information, giving the results in a format similar to the traditional ECG. Doctors can then look at the results and see if there are any indications of electrical problems in the fetal heart.
Electromagnetic fields are produced naturally by the earth and by some pieces of hospital equipment. To reduce interference from these other sources, fetal MCG is done is a specially constructed room that is shielded with nickel alloy. The computer is also located in a different room to limit possible electromagnetic interference.
Fetal MCG is currently only available at a few high-tech centers due to the extremely high costs of equipment and requirements for room shielding. Researcher/Clinical Nurse Specialist, Terese Verklan, R.N., Ph.D., hopes that eventually, the size and cost of the equipment will come down considerably, allowing hospitals to have it on hand as standard equipment for routine assessment of fetal heart health.
For information about fetal magnetocardiography, go here.