Chorioamnionitis: time for a new approach

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The association between maternal chorioamnionitis and early-onset sepsis in the newborn has long been recognized, and established guidelines recommend treating all exposed infants with broad-spectrum antibiotics until infection can be ruled out. However, recent data suggest that close observation of well appearing term and late-preterm newborns may be a preferable alternative. The present review addresses the evidence in favor of newly proposed changes to the diagnosis and management of women and newborns following a maternal diagnosis of chorioamnionitis. Potential implications of these new practice guidelines will also be discussed.

Recent findings

A panel of experts assembled in 2015 to provide updated, evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and management of women and newborns following a maternal diagnosis of chorioamnionitis. Revised terminology and diagnostic criteria were proposed as well as changes in the management of newborns of mothers with suspected intrauterine infection, most notably a recommendation to observe (rather than treat) well appearing term and late-preterm newborns.

Summary

A management strategy consisting of close observation of well appearing term and late-preterm infants exposed to suspected intrauterine infection is preferable to empiric antimicrobial therapy. Large prospective epidemiologic studies will be needed to ascertain the impact of these new practice guidelines on the outcomes of infants exposed to intrauterine infection and/or inflammation. Improved precision in the clinical diagnosis of intrauterine infection should improve both the quality and reproducibility of data generated from future studies.

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