Does acute funisitis predict worse neonatal outcomes among term newborns?

Conference Paper

BACKGROUND: Acute funisitis-the histologic diagnosis of inflammation within the umbilical cord-represents a fetal inflammatory response to infection. Although acute funisitis has been associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes among preterm neonates, there are limited and conflicting data with term deliveries. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the association between acute funisitis and neonatal morbidity in neonates born at term to pregnant patients with a clinical diagnosis of intraamniotic infection. STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective cohort study of pregnant patients who had clinically diagnosed intraamniotic infection at term, delivered vaginally at a single tertiary institution from 2013 to 2019, and had histologic chorioamnionitis on placental pathology. Patients with intrauterine fetal demise or missing neonatal/placental pathology data were excluded. The primary outcome was a neonatal sepsis composite, defined as culture-positive bacteremia, neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count<3500/μL), or immature-to-total neutrophil ratio>0.2. The secondary outcomes included composite neonatal morbidity, defined as neonatal intensive care unit admission, 5-minute Apgar score <7, bacteremia, endotracheal intubation or need for continuous positive airway pressure, intraventricular hemorrhage (grade 3 or 4), necrotizing enterocolitis (stage 3 or 4), umbilical artery pH<7.1, umbilical artery base excess>12, and neonatal mortality. The components of these composites, neonatal intensive care unit length of stay, and Kaiser early-onset sepsis score were also measured. Neonates with acute funisitis on pathology were compared with those without acute funisitis using bivariate statistics. Regression was used to estimate the relative risk of outcomes. RESULTS: Of 184 neonates with deliveries complicated by intraamniotic infection, acute funisitis was present in 109 (59%) placental specimens. Composite neonatal sepsis was significantly higher among neonates with acute funisitis (relative risk, 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-3.03) than in those without acute funisitis. As a marker for sepsis, acute funisitis has a sensitivity of 39.4%, negative predictive value of 47.2%, specificity of 78.7%, and positive predictive value of 72.9%. An immature-to-total neutrophil ratio>0.2 (relative risk, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-3.08) was also significantly associated with acute funisitis. Neonatal morbidity composite, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, neonatal intensive care unit admission, higher Kaiser early-onset sepsis scores, and other examined outcomes were not statistically associated with acute funisitis. CONCLUSION: In term deliveries complicated by intraamniotic infection, acute funisitis was associated with increased neonatal sepsis. Current approaches for estimating neonatal sepsis risk are limited by their reliance on indirect maternal factors such as maximum maternal temperature and intrapartum antibiotic use. This study suggests that acute funisitis may serve as a marker that could be utilized to augment risk stratification at birth if a protocol for evaluating the umbilical cord in real-time were widely adopted.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zemtsov, GE; Diaz, N; Ryan, E; Chao, A; Avram, CM; Grace, MR; Dotters-Katz, SK

Published Date

  • August 2, 2022

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 35931130

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-6868

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ajog.2022.07.057

Conference Location

  • United States