Background: Intra-amniotic infection is present in 10% of patients with an episode of preterm labor, and is a risk factor for impending preterm delivery and neonatal morbidity/mortality. Intra-amniotic inflammation is often associated with intra-amniotic infection, but is sometimes present in the absence of detectable microorganisms. Antibiotic treatment of intra-amniotic infection has traditionally been considered to be ineffective. Intra-amniotic inflammation without microorganisms has a prognosis similar to that of intra-amniotic infection. Objective: To determine whether antibiotics can eradicate intra-amniotic infection or intra-amniotic inflammation in a subset of patients with preterm labor and intact membranes. Materials and Methods: The study population consisted of women who met the following criteria: 1) singleton gestation between 20 and 34 weeks; 2) preterm labor and intact membranes; 3) transabdominal amniocentesis performed for the evaluation of the microbiologic/inflammatory status of the amniotic cavity; 4) intra-amniotic infection and/or intra-amniotic inflammation; and 5) received antibiotic treatment that consisted of ceftriaxone, clarithromycin, and metronidazole. Follow-up amniocentesis was performed in a subset of patients. Amniotic fluid was cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and genital mycoplasmas, and polymerase chain reaction was performed for Ureaplasma spp. Intra-amniotic infection was defined as a positive amniotic fluid culture or positive polymerase chain reaction, and intra-amniotic inflammation was suspected when there was an elevated amniotic fluid white blood cell count or a positive result of a rapid test for matrix metalloproteinase-8. For this study, the final diagnosis of intra-amniotic inflammation was made by measuring the interleukin-6 concentration in stored amniotic fluid (>2.6 ng/mL). These results were not available to managing clinicians. Treatment success was defined as eradication of intra-amniotic infection and/or intra-amniotic inflammation or delivery ≥37 weeks. Results: Of 62 patients with intra-amniotic infection and/or intra-amniotic inflammation, 50 received the antibiotic regimen. Of those patients, 29 were undelivered for ≥7 days and 19 underwent a follow-up amniocentesis. Microorganisms were identified by culture or polymerase chain reaction of amniotic fluid obtained at admission in 21% of patients (4/19) who had a follow-up amniocentesis, and were eradicated in 3 of the 4 patients. Resolution of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation was confirmed in 79% of patients (15/19), and 1 other patient delivered at term, although resolution of intra-amniotic inflammation could not be confirmed after a follow-up amniocentesis. Thus, resolution of intra-amniotic inflammation/infection or term delivery (treatment success) occurred in 84% of patients (16/19) who had a follow-up amniocentesis. Treatment success occurred in 32% of patients (16/50) with intra-amniotic infection/inflammation who received antibiotics. The median amniocentesis-to-delivery interval was significantly longer among women who received the combination of antibiotics than among those who did not (11.4 days vs 3.1 days: P = .04). Conclusion: Eradication of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation after treatment with antibiotics was confirmed in 79% of patients with preterm labor, intact membranes, and intra-amniotic infection/inflammation who had a follow-up amniocentesis. Treatment success occurred in 84% of patients who underwent a follow-up amniocentesis and in 32% of women who received the antibiotic regimen.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology