Background and Objective: The uterine electrohysterogram (EHG) contains important information about electrical signal propagation which may be useful to monitor and predict the progress of pregnancy towards parturition. Directed information processing has the potential to be of use in studying EHG recordings. However, so far, there is no directed information-based estimation scheme that has been applied to investigating the propagation of human EHG recordings. To realize this, the approach of directed information and its reliability and adaptability should be scientifically studied. Methods: We demonstrated an estimation scheme of directed information to identify the spatiotemporal relationship between the recording channels of EHG signal and assess the algorithm reliability initially using simulated data. Further, a regional identification of information flow termination (RIIFT) approach was developed and applied for the first time to extant multichannel EHG signals to reveal the terminal zone of propagation of the electrical activity associated with uterine contraction. RIIFT operates by estimating the pairwise directed information between neighboring EHG channels and identifying the location where there is the strongest inward flow of information. The method was then applied to publicly-available experimental data obtained from pregnant women with the use of electrodes arranged in a 4−by−4 grid. Results: Our results are consistent with the suggestions from the previous studies with the added identification of preferential sites of excitation termination - within the estimated area, the direction of surface action potential propagation towards the medial axis of uterus during contraction was discovered for 72.15% of the total cases, demonstrating that our RIIFT method is a potential tool to investigate EHG propagation for advancing our understanding human uterine excitability. Conclusions: We developed a new approach and applied it to multichannel human EHG recordings to investigate the electrical signal propagation involved in uterine contraction. This provides an important platform for future studies to fill knowledge gaps in the spatiotemporal patterns of electrical excitation of the human uterus.
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
This is an open access article under the CC BY license
FunderThis research was supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1148910), NIHR AI Award (AI_AWARD02312) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2019YFC0119700)
- Directed information
- Electrohysterogram (EHG)
- Human uterine electrical propagation
- Uterine contraction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Computer Science Applications