Continuous monitoring of the fetal heart rate (FHR) signal has been widely used to allow obstetricians to obtain detailed physiological information about newborns. However, visual interpretation of FHR traces causes inter-observer and intra-observer variability. Therefore, this study proposed a novel computerized analysis software of the FHR signal (CAS-FHR), aimed at providing medical decision support. First, to the best of our knowledge, the software extracted the most comprehensive features (47) from different domains, including morphological, time, and frequency and nonlinear domains. Then, for the intelligent assessment of fetal state, three representative machine learning algorithms (decision tree (DT), support vector machine (SVM), and adaptive boosting (AdaBoost)) were chosen to execute the classification stage. To improve the performance, feature selection/dimensionality reduction methods (statistical test (ST), area under the curve (AUC), and principal component analysis (PCA)) were designed to determine informative features. Finally, the experimental results showed that AdaBoost had stronger classification ability, and the performance of the selected feature set using ST was better than that of the original dataset with accuracies of 92% and 89%, sensitivities of 92% and 89%, specificities of 90% and 88%, and F-measures of 95% and 92%, respectively. In summary, the results proved the effectiveness of our proposed approach involving the comprehensive analysis of the FHR signal for the intelligent prediction of fetal asphyxia accurately in clinical practice.
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