Objective: Early neonatal sepsis is often due to intra-amniotic infection. The stomach of the neonate contains fluid swallowed before and during delivery. The presence of bacteria as well as neutrophils detected by culture or Gram stain of the gastric fluid during the first day of life is suggestive of exposure to bacteria or inflammation. We undertook this study to determine the relationship between gastric fluid analysis and amniotic fluid obtained by transabdominal amniocentesis in the detection of Ureaplasma species, the most frequent microorganisms responsible for intra-amniotic infection.Materials and methods: The study population consisted of 100 singleton pregnant women who delivered preterm neonates (<35 weeks) within 7 days of amniocentesis. Gastric fluid of newborns was obtained by nasogastric intubation on the day of birth. Amniotic fluid and gastric fluid were cultured for genital Mycoplasmas, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Ureaplasma species was performed. Intra-amniotic inflammation was defined as an elevated amniotic fluid matrix metalloproteinase-8 concentration (>23 ng/mL).Results: (1) Ureaplasma species were detected by culture or PCR in 18% (18/100) of amniotic fluid samples and in 5% (5/100) of gastric fluid samples; (2) among the amniotic fluid cases positive for Ureaplasma species, these microorganisms were identified in 27.8% (5/18) of gastric fluid samples; (3) none of the cases negative for Ureaplasma species in the amniotic fluid were found to be positive for these microorganisms in the gastric fluid; (4) patients with amniotic fluid positive for Ureaplasma species but with gastric fluid negative for these microorganisms had a significantly higher rate of intra-amniotic inflammation, acute histologic chorioamnionitis, and neonatal death than those with both amniotic fluid and gastric fluid negative for Ureaplasma species; and (5) no significant differences were observed in the rate of intra-amniotic inflammation, acute histologic chorioamnionitis, and neonatal death between patients with amniotic fluid positive for Ureaplasma species but with gastric fluid negative for these microorganisms and those with both amniotic fluid and gastric fluid positive for Ureaplasma species.Conclusions: Gastric fluid analysis has 100% specificity in the identification of intra-amniotic infection with Ureaplasma species. However, the detection of Ureaplasma species by culture or PCR in the gastric fluid of neonates at birth did not identify these microorganisms in two-thirds of cases with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity. Thus, amniotic fluid analysis is superior to that of gastric fluid in the identification of intra-amniotic infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology