“Electromyometrial Imaging (EMMI) of Uterine Contractions”
Host: Jon Silva (WashU Biomedical Engineering (BME))
Abstract: Despite years of research, preterm birth (PTB) is the greatest and costliest burden in perinatology. In large part, this is because of our limited understanding of the pathologic factors that initiate preterm labor and result in preterm birth. Although uterine contractions play a central role in both preterm and term labor, the mechanisms of initiation and propagation resulting in preterm birth remain unknown largely due to a lack of tools to study it until now. As a direct result of the support from the March of Dimes (MOD), we recently developed a new imaging technology, Electromyometrial Imaging (EMMI), to non-invasively characterize the three-dimensional (3D) electrical activation and conduction patterns of uterine contractions. EMMI employs magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to acquire subject-specific body-uterus geometry, and combines it with up to 256 channels body surface electromyography during contractions to noninvasively image the uterine surface electrical activities across the entire uterus in 3D. EMMI has been thoroughly validated using a translational sheep model. For the first time, we have noninvasively imaged the 3D uterine activation patterns in term and preterm labor patients and observed the wide spectrum of uterine activation patterns.
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