Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization recommends a package of pregnancy care that includes obstetric ultrasound scans. There are significant barriers to universal access to antenatal ultrasound, particularly because of the cost and need for maintenance of ultrasound equipment and a lack of trained personnel. As low-cost, handheld ultrasound devices have become widely available, the current roadblock is the global shortage of health care providers trained in obstetric scanning. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to improve pregnancy and risk assessment for women in underserved regions. Therefore, we are undertaking the Computer-Assisted Low-Cost Point-of-Care UltraSound (CALOPUS) project, bringing together experts in machine learning and clinical obstetric ultrasound. METHODS: In this prospective study conducted in two clinical centers (United Kingdom and India), participating pregnant women were scanned and full-length ultrasounds were performed. Each woman underwent 2 consecutive ultrasound scans. The first was a series of simple, standardized ultrasound sweeps (the CALOPUS protocol), immediately followed by a routine, full clinical ultrasound examination that served as the comparator. We describe the development of a simple-to-use clinical protocol designed for nonexpert users to assess fetal viability, detect the presence of multiple pregnancies, evaluate placental location, assess amniotic fluid volume, determine fetal presentation, and perform basic fetal biometry. The CALOPUS protocol was designed using the smallest number of steps to minimize redundant information, while maximizing diagnostic information. Here, we describe how ultrasound videos and annotations are captured for machine learning. RESULTS: Over 5571 scans have been acquired, from which 1,541,751 label annotations have been performed. An adapted protocol, including a low pelvic brim sweep and a well-filled maternal bladder, improved visualization of the cervix from 28% to 91% and classification of placental location from 82% to 94%. Excellent levels of intra- and interannotator agreement are achievable following training and standardization. CONCLUSIONS: The CALOPUS study is a unique study that uses obstetric ultrasound videos and annotations from pregnancies dated from 11 weeks and followed up until birth using novel ultrasound and annotation protocols. The data from this study are being used to develop and test several different machine learning algorithms to address key clinical diagnostic questions pertaining to obstetric risk management. We also highlight some of the challenges and potential solutions to interdisciplinary multinational imaging collaboration. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR1-10.2196/37374.

Original publication




Journal article


JMIR Res Protoc

Publication Date





artificial intelligence, data annotation, machine learning, obstetrics, ultrasound