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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2003 Aug;14(2):85-90.

C-reactive protein in umbilical cord blood: a simple and widely available clinical method to assess the risk of amniotic fluid infection and funisitis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Laboratory of Fetal Medicine Research, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul, Korea.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) in umbilical cord plasma at birth were elevated in neonates with sepsis, an inflammatory lesion of the umbilical cord (funisitis) or who were born to mothers with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity.


Umbilical cord plasma was collected at birth from 313 singleton preterm neonates (20-35 weeks of gestation). The results of amniotic fluid culture performed within 5 days of birth, the occurrence of congenital neonatal sepsis and the presence of funisitis were assessed. Amniocentesis was performed in 152 patients within 5 days of birth. Amniotic fluid was cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and for mycoplasmas. The CRP concentration was measured with a highly sensitive immunoassay.


The median cord plasma CRP concentration was significantly higher in neonates with a positive amniotic fluid culture than in those with negative culture (median 245.9 (range 11.6-4885.5) ng/ml vs. median 44.3 (range 2.3-7401.8) ng/ml; p < 0.001), in those with congenital proven sepsis than in those without this complication (median 789.5 (range 20.4-2584.3) ng/ml vs. median 41.5 (range 1.3-7401.8) ng/ml; p < 0.005) and in neonates with funisitis than in those without funisitis (median 403.8 (range 4.9-10897.4) ng/ml vs. median 31.0 (range 1.3-7401.8) ng/ml; p < 0.001). The sensitivity of CRP in the identification of amniotic fluid infection, neonatal sepsis and funisitis was similar to that of interleukin-6 (> 17.5 pg/ml). However, the specificity of CRP in the identification of neonatal sepsis and funisitis was significantly higher than that of interleukin-6 (74% vs. 69%, p < 0.05; 83% vs. 76%, p < 0.01).


Umbilical cord plasma CRP concentrations were elevated in patients with amniotic fluid infection, congenital neonatal sepsis and funisitis.

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