Comparison of halogen light and vibroacoustic stimulation on nonreactive fetal heart rate pattern

Fatemeh Rahimikian, Maryam Modarres, Abbas Mehran, Tahereh Rahiminia


Background: One of the first‑line assessment tools for fetal surveillance is nonstress test (NST), although it is limited by a high rate of false‑nonreactive results. This study was performed to investigate if external stimulation from vibroacoustic and halogen light could help in provoking fetal responsiveness and altering NST results.

Materials and Methods: This is a clinical trial. Sampling was done from April to July 2010. One hundred pregnant women with nonreactive NST for 20 min were allocated in two groups: Vibroacoustic stimulated NST (VNST, n = 50) who received vibration from a standard fetal vibratory stimulator and halogen light stimulated NST (LNST, n = 50) who received a halogen light source for 3 and 10 sec, respectively. Results were compared together and then compared to biophysical profile (BPP) scores as a backup test. We used Mann-Whitney U test, Chi‑square test, and Fisher’s exact test to compare the variables in the two groups through SPSS version 14. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Following stimulations, 68% nonreactive subjects in halogen light stimulation group and 62% in vibroacoustic stimulation group changed to reactive patterns. Time to onset of the first acceleration (VNST: 2.17 min; LNST: 2.27 min) and the test duration (VNST: 4.91 min; LNST: 5.26 min) were the same in the two groups. In VNST 89.5% and in LNST 87.5% of nonreactivity followed by score 8 in BPP. There was no significant relation between stimulus NSTs and BPPs.

Conclusion: Vibroacoustic and light stimulation offer benefits by decreasing the incidence of nonreactive results and reducing the test time. Both halogen light stimulation and vibroacoustic stimulation are safe and efficient in fetal well‑being assessment services.

Key words: Biophysical profile, fetal heart rate, fetal monitoring, halogen light stimulation, Iran, light, nonstress test, vibroacoustic stimulation, visual stimulation

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