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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007 Sep;134(1):44-50. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Amnionitis with Ureaplasma urealyticum or other microbes leads to increased morbidity and prolonged hospitalization in very low birth weight infants.

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  • 1Department of Neonatology and Intensive Care, University Hospital of Pediatrics, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.



To investigate the influence of culture proven intrauterine infection on preterm morbidity and to test the effect of antimicrobial treatment.


Retrospective cohort study conducted between October 1997 and February 2001 in patients with preterm premature rupture of membranes or preterm labor. Vaginal swabs were sampled and amniocentesis for microbiologic culture of the amniotic fluid was performed. Patients with Ureaplasma urealyticum in the amniotic fluid were treated with josamycin. Infants were followed post partum according to birth weight, gestational age, APGAR score and infant morbidity.


In 49 eligible patients, 40% of cultures were positive, 22% for Ureaplasma urealyticum, 12% for other bacteria and 6% for candida. Children of mothers with positive amniotic fluid cultures had significantly lower gestational ages (26+4 weeks for Ureaplasma urealyticum [p=0.04] and 25+5 weeks for other microorganisms [p=0.0017] versus 28+6 weeks for mothers with negative amniotic fluid cultures) and lower birth weights (975 g [n.s.] and 828 g [p=0.0072] versus 1,041 g) but were appropriate for their gestational ages. 33.3% and 66.7% versus 24% of the children were mechanically ventilated [n.s.], duration of mechanical ventilation was 5.3 [p=0.02] and 10.1 days [p=0.04] versus 1.4 days, and prevalence of chronic lung disease was 38% and 33% versus 11% [n.s.]. Prevalence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage (12.5% [n.s.] and 33% [p=0.04] versus 3.4%) and nosocomial infections (50% for both groups of positive cultures versus 10.3% for negative cultures, p=0.02 and 0.03, respectively) was higher and median length of stay was significantly longer (121 [p=0.02] and 107 days [p=0.03] versus 60 days) in these patients. Maternal positive vaginal swab cultures were not associated with any of the above-mentioned factors. In none of the patients treated with macrolids for proven Ureaplasma urealyticum amnionitis could the microbes be eradicated.


Maternal positive amniotic fluid cultures have been associated with lower gestational age and lower birth weight. Rate of infant morbidity was higher and length of stay was significantly longer in this group. Positive vaginal swabs were not predictive for infant morbidity. Treatment of mothers showing positive amniotic fluid cultures with macrolids was not effective.

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