In current clinical practice, uterine contractions are monitored via a tocodynamometer or an intrauterine pressure catheter, both of which provide crude information about contractions. Although electrohysterography/ electromyography can measure uterine electrical activity, this method lacks spatial specificity and thus cannot accurately measure the exact location of electrical initiation and location-specific propagation patterns of uterine contractions. To comprehensively evaluate three-dimensional uterine electrical activation patterns, we describe here the development of electromyometrial imaging (EMMI) to display the three-dimensional uterine contractions at high spatial and temporal resolution. EMMI combines detailed body surface electrical recording with body-uterus geometry derived from magnetic resonance images. We used a sheep model to show that EMMI can reconstruct uterine electrical activation patterns from electrodes placed on the abdomen. These patterns closely match those measured with electrodes placed directly on the uterine surface. In addition, modeling experiments showed that EMMI reconstructions are minimally affected by noise and geometrical deformation. Last, we showthatEMMI can be used to noninvasively measure uterine contractions in sheep in the same setup as would be used in humans. Our results indicate that EMMI can noninvasively, safely, accurately, robustly, and feasibly image three-dimensional uterine electrical activation during contractions in sheep and suggest that similar results might be obtained in clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaau1428
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number483
StatePublished - 2019


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