UK AI researchers testing tool to detect stillbirths

The algorithm can detect anomalies in ultrasounds of placentas in real time

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

March 16, 2022

1 Min Read

The algorithm can detect anomalies in ultrasounds of placentas in real time

A new AI-based scanning tool from British scientists aims to prevent adverse occurrences in pregnancy.

Perspectum, an Oxford University spin-out company is developing the AI technology that analyzes ultrasounds of a women’s placenta to identify potential stillbirths or pre-eclampsia complications.

The fully automated system analyzes the placenta’s volume, the blood vessels supplying it and urine blood supply to provide medical professionals with the results of a patient’s placenta in real time.

Issues like stillbirth – where the baby dies in the womb - are linked to issues stemming from the placenta which links the mother's blood supply to the fetus.

“Many studies have shown that if you have a small placenta in the first trimester, you will have a small placenta at term, and a small placenta makes a small baby,” Prof. Sally Collins, medical lead for women’s health at Perspectum told The Guardian.

“If your placenta is small, and has a normal supply of blood vessels (vascularity), it can be an indication of fetal growth restriction. If it is small with low vascularity, you potentially get a small baby and preeclampsia.”

A new trial was launched this week to determine whether the tool can be integrated into existing NHS (National Health Service) algorithms. Around 4,000 women will be offered a placental ultrasound at their 12-week appointment who will then receive a follow-up to judge the algorithm's predictions.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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