Relationship of vaginal microflora to PROM, pPROM and the risk of early-onset neonatal sepsis.

BACKGROUND: Infections are among the most frequent causes of premature delivery and premature discharges of amniotic fluid. The vaginal ecosystem significantly contributes to the development of these conditions. Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM) are associated with an increased risk of intra-amniotic infection. The intra-amniotic infection negatively affects perinatal morbidity and mortality of newborns.

OBJECTIVES: Finding of relationship of vaginal microflora to PROM, pPROM and the risk of early-onset neonatal sepsis.

METHODS: A prospective study was implemented in 152 women with singleton gestations with PROM (n=52) and pPROM (n=47); the control group included 53 women with physiologic pregnancy and delivery at normal term without PROM. In all the women, aerobic cultivations from the vagina and cervix for Chlamydia trachomatis were provided before initiation of antibiotic treatment, the microbial picture of vagina was examined, and the cultivation examination of urine was carried out. The placenta was subjected to histopathologic examination. For the diagnosis of early-onset sepsis, we used concentrations of cytokines IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha, and the adhesion molecule, ICAM-1, from the venous umbilical blood taken immediately after delivery and cutting of the umbilical cord. Demonstrated early neonatal sepsis served as a further criterion.

RESULTS: The most frequent bacteriologic findings throughout the group were coagulase-negative Staphylococci, Ureaplasma, Candida albicans, and Streptococcus viridans. Women with a diagnosis of urinary tract infection or diabetes mellitus were excluded from the study. We found no statistically significant relationship between a specific bacterial strain and PROM and pPROM. We found a statistically significant association between the risk for intra-amniotic infection and the finding of S. viridans (p<0.001). There was also a statistically significant relationship between the microbiologic picture of the vagina VI and infection risk (p<0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on results of the present study, it is clear that the use of cultivation and microscopic findings in the vagina and cervix for the timely diagnosis of the risk of early-onset neonatal sepsis is restricted.

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