Did I Record the
World's First Fetal EKG?
Sheila was curious, too, so she agreed to lie on the table while I placed electrodes on her abdomen. Her own EKG signal was so strong I couldn't detect the fetal tracing without carefully aligning the electrodes to the position that almost neutralized it. When I found the near-isoelectric position, I turned up the gain and Heather's signal came through.
Both signals can be seen clearly on the trace below. Sheila's heart rate was 80/min and Heather's was 125.
So, is this the world's first fetal EKG? As I said, I don't know. What I know is, I showed it to an OB/GYN faculty member a few weeks later and he became very excited. Now, of course, fetal EKGs are routine in obstetrics. Did Heather, Sheila, and I make an original contribution to this? I like to think so.