Preterm labor detection commonly relies on an exterior device that picks up contractions when attached to the abdomen. With more than 500,000 premature births being recorded each year, obstetricians are constantly on the lookout for improved means of detecting preterm labor earlier in hopes of stopping labor before the baby is born. A group of Master’s degree students from Johns Hopkins University set out to change how contractions were recorded and in the process created a viable solution that could change how babies are born.

CervoCheck is the device created by the student team. The device is implanted in the vagina with three probes contacting the cervix and vaginal walls where contractions are strongest. The device has been tested in animals and successfully recorded preterm contractions. The idea behind the device came when students were doing rounds in an obstetrical unit in search of ways to better the patient care experience.

Since the development of CervoCheck, the students have won numerous awards. All have since graduated with their Master’s degrees. Two of the students are currently working to promote CervoCheck, one is going to medical school and the final student took a job in the health technology field.

CervoCheck has yet to start human trials, but the team is working with doctors at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. With additional funding, the team hopes to soon offer CervoCheck for use in a clinical setting across the United States and abroad.

Source: Phil Sneiderman - John’s Hopkins University - 21 July 2010