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New High-risk OB at UAMS Observes Campus’s Unique Fetal Exam
NOV. 29, 2001 -

NOV. 29, 2001 | Arkansas’s incoming dean of medicine, a Philadelphia specialist in high-risk pregnancy, recently toured an experimental fetal monitoring facility at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., the new dean of the College of Medicine at UAMS, observed the use of the “SARA,” a unique device for assessing fetal health.

”I am pleased to see that we have taken the lead in investigating methods that may effectively evaluate fetal neurological status in utero. The results could bring enormous benefit to patients and much credit and prestige to the College of Medicine at UAMS,” Dr. Reece commented. Dr. Reece is an international expert in diabetes and prenatal diagnosis and therapy. He will become the full-time dean of the UAMS College of Medicine in January. He is currently the Abraham Roth Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

”The SARA system allows us to view the physiology of pregnancy in a new and noninvasive way,” Curtis L. Lowery, M.D., explained. “We believe this device will be useful in the prediction and management of premature labor, fetal cardiac disease, and hypoxic ischemic disease of the fetus.”

The UAMS device uses fetal magnetoencephalography (MEG) to detect minute magnetic field fluctuations in the fetus. During the examination, the pregnant woman sits against a concave shield that covers her abdomen. More than 100 sensors obtain three-dimensional data from the fetus and the uterus – without employing needles or any other invasive instruments. It is the first instrument for simultaneous recording of multiple physiologic signals from a woman’s uterus. MEG technology has been in use for 30 years for adult brain scans, but UAMS is the first medical center to adapt the technology for fetuses.

Hari Eswaran, Ph.D. (left), and Carl V. Smith, M.D., chair of obstetrics and gynecology (right), explain the SARA to Dr. Reece (center).
Hari Eswaran, Ph.D. (left), and Carl V. Smith, M.D., chair of obstetrics and gynecology (right), explain the SARA to Dr. Reece (center). Curtis L. Lowery, M.D., director of the Maternal and Fetal Medicine Division of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, developed the device with a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Eswaran is a research assistant professor at the Graduate Institute of Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is collaborating with Dr. Lowery on the SARA project. (Amy Theriac, UAMS Media Services)

Curtis L. Lowery, M.D., director of maternal and fetal medicine
Curtis L. Lowery, M.D., director of maternal and fetal medicine

Past Articles Header
UAMS Obstetrician Offers Advice on Predicting Preterm Labor
JUNE 7, 2001
UAMS Delivers Medical Care for High-risk Pregnancies
MARCH 2000
New Technology Develops with Fetal Monitor
MARCH 2000
Employee Benefits from Full-service Labor, Delivery Unit
DEC. 1999

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“SARA” is an acronym for Squid Array for Reproductive Assessment; “squid” is an acronym for super conducting quantum interference device. Dr. Lowery
developed the SARA with a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UAMS College of Medicine. Dr. Lowery and his colleagues have been experimenting with the SARA to develop efficient baby check-ups than can catch neurological and heart problems long before birth. They also hope to use the SARA to gauge the results of fetal treatment.

Most neurological damage to fetuses occurs before labor begins, making pre-term neurological assessments important in high-risk pregnancies. SARA is the only available non-invasive test for checking fetal neurological health. (Other tests cannot easily be used in the fetus due to limited access, potential risk, or required long scan times.) The SARA can be useful in predicting premature labor and in managing the use of medications to induce labor.

Dr. Lowery is collaborating with pediatric specialists to test the SARA in caring for fetuses with cardiac arrhythmias and in evaluating neurological activity of newborn infants.

UAMS Medical Center is home to the only high-risk pregnancy program in Arkansas. These board certified physicians in maternal-fetal medicine are trained and experienced in helping high-risk pregnant women avoid some of the complications associated with a wide range of diseases or conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, lupus, epilepsy, lung disease, kidney disease, RH negative blood, herpes, and HIV.

Links on This Page

UAMS Obstetrician: http://www.uams.edu/today/060701/lowery.htm
UAMS Delivers: http://www.uams.edu/info/Pdf's/highrisk.pdf
New Technology: http://www.uams.edu/info/Pdf's/fetalmon.pdf
Employee Benefits: http://www.uams.edu/info/Pdf's/labor.pdf
High-risk pregnancy program: http://baby.uams.edu/high-risk.htm/
Labor and delivery ward: http://baby.uams.edu/
UAMS Medical Center: http://www.uams.edu/medcenter/

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