A potential complication of term prelabor rupture of membranes (term PROM) is chorioamnionitis with an increased burden on neonatal outcomes of chronic lung disease and cerebral palsy. The purpose of the study was to analyze the efficacy of a standing clinical protocol designed to identify women with term PROM at low risk for chorioamnionitis, who may benefit from expectant management, and those at a higher risk for chorioamnionitis, who may benefit from early induction.
Material and methods
This retrospective study enrolled all consecutive singleton pregnant women with term PROM. Subjects included women with at least one of the following factors: white blood cell count ≥ 15×100/μL, C-reactive protein ≥ 1.5 mg/dL, or positive vaginal swab for beta-hemolytic streptococcus. These women comprised the high risk (HR) group and underwent immediate induction of labor by the administration of intravaginal dinoprostone. Women with none of the above factors and those with a low risk for chorioamnionitis waited for up to 24 hours for spontaneous onset of labor and comprised the low-risk (LR) group.
Of the 884 consecutive patients recruited, 65 fulfilled the criteria for HR chorioamnionitis and underwent immediate induction, while 819 were admitted for expectant management. Chorioamnionitis and Cesarean section rates were not significantly different between the HR and LR groups. However, the prevalence of maternal fever (7.7% vs. 2.9%; p = 0.04) and meconium-stained amniotic fluid was significantly higher in the HR group than in LR group (6.1% vs. 2.2%; p = 0.04). This study found an overall incidence of 4.2% for chorioamnionitis, 10.9% for Cesarean section, 0.5% for umbilical artery blood pH < 7.10, and 1.9% for admission to the neonatal intensive care unit. Furthermore, no confirmed cases of neonatal sepsis were encountered.
A clinical protocol designed to manage, by immediate induction, only those women with term PROM who presented with High Risk factors for infection/inflammation achieved similar maternal and perinatal outcomes between such women and women without any risks who received expectant management. This reduced the need for universal induction of term PROM patients, thereby reducing the incidence of maternal and fetal complications without increasing the rate of Cesarean sections.