Background: The incidence of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) has increased in recent years, particularly among women of reproductive age. This places more neonates at risk for severe morbidity and mortality. Treatment recommendations for primary disease in pregnancy are lacking, particularly for those who acquire. HSV remote from term.
Case: A patient at 17 weeks of gestation carrying dichorionic twins developed primary herpes with subsequent vertical transmission of the virus and significant neonatal morbidity.
Conclusion: Data regarding risks and benefits of treatments such as acyclovir and immunoprophylaxis are lacking at a time when the incidence of HSV infection is on the rise.
Background: Staphylococcus aureus and the β-hemolytic streptococci are the commonest causes of puerperal mastitis which tends to be a localized disease process. This report describes 2 cases attributable to these bacteria that resulted in extramammary involvement and augmented morbidity.
Cases: Two cases of postpartum mastitis are described, one leading to necrotizing fasciitis caused by group A streptococci and the other leading to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) caused by S. aureus.
Conclusion: The spectrum of disease commonly attributed to mastitis occurring in this setting should be expanded.
Background: Over the past few decades, physicians have been reminded of the potential for serious complications arising from group A streptococcal (GAS) infections. These infections continue to pose a serious threat, primarily because the pathophysiology of these infections is complex. This article reviews some of the features of GAS infections and presents two case reports of GAS pelvic infections in women.
Case: The two patients discussed both had unusual presentations for pelvic inflammatory disease. In both cases, there was strong concern that a serious gastrointestinal process was occurring. Both improved dramatically after aggressive irrigation of their abdominal cavities and administration of antibiotics.
Conclusion: Appropriate and aggressive use of antibiotics and reduction of bacterial load through debridement and irrigation are crucial in treating serious GAS infections.
Background: Midtrimester genetic amniocentesis is a commonly performed procedure, with acknowledgment of some risk to mother and fetus.
Case: We present an unusual case of midtrimester genetic amniocentesis with bowel injury and resulting septic shock, adult respiratory distress syndrome, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. A total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingoophorectomy were required for resolution of sepsis. The patient also required prolonged ventilatory support postoperatively.
Conclusion: Although relatively safe, genetic amniocentesis can result in serious morbidity, and attention to technique should be maintained.
Objective: Identification of the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in pregnancy might be rational in order to identify a possible BV-associated group at risk of preterm delivery.
Methods: Three hundred and five women early in the third trimester of pregnancy were interviewed about lifestyle factors and specific symptoms of BV and given a vaginal examination. A longitudinal three-week follow-up was conducted for 127 women.
Results: The prevalence of BV was 16%. Women with BV were significantly more often smokers than women without BV (52% vs. 34%). No difference in sexual activity or other behavioral characteristics between the two groups were seen. No differences were noted among women with and without BV according to specific symptoms: malodorous discharge (26% vs. 23%), increased discharge (76% vs. 68%), or itching or troublesome discharge. More than one third of women with BV at the first examination did not fulfill the criteria for BV at the three week follow-up exam. None of the women without BV had developed BV by the follow-up exam. The incidence of preterm delivery among women with BV was 4%, women without BV had an incidence of 2.4%. This difference was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Asymptomatic BV in pregnancy is common. Specific questions about the character of the discharge do not identify women with BV during pregnancy. To identify a potential BV-associated group at risk for preterm delivery, screening for BV must be conducted not only among symptomatic women but among all women. Women with BV are more often smokers than women without BV.
Objective: To compare the efficacy and tolerance of single-dose grepafloxacin with cefixime for treatment of uncomplicated gonorrhea in women.
Methods: Women attending nine sexually-transmitted-disease clinics in the United States who had suspected uncomplicated gonorrhea were enrolled in an open study. Participants were randomized to receive single oral doses of grepafloxacin (400 mg) or cefixime (400 mg), and efficacy was evaluated in those who returned for follow-up assessment 5 to 10 days later. The primary measure of efficacy was microbiological response to therapy as determined by pre- and posttreatment culture results for Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Results: Of 380 patients enrolled, 124 in the grepafloxacin group and 131 in the cefixime group were evaluated for microbiological response. Cervical gonococcal infections were eradicated in 99% of patients in both treatment groups, with only one persistent infection in each group. All pharyngeal (n = 15) and rectal (n = 32) gonococcal infections treated with grepafloxacin were cured, whereas 5 of 16 (31%) pharyngeal and 1 of 38 (3%) rectal infections failed to respond to cefixime. Although a third (123 of 386) of N. gonorrhoeae pretreatment isolates were resistant to penicillin or tetracycline, this had no impact on cure rates. Both drugs were well tolerated, with vaginitis being the most common treatment-related adverse event in each group.
Conclusions: This study shows that single-dose grepafloxacin is at least as effective as cefixime for treating women with uncomplicated cervical gonorrhea. Grepafloxacin also appears to be highly effective against extragenital infections.
Objectives: To evaluate the utility of intrapartum amnioinfusion (AI) in reducing the infectious morbidity of patients with meconium-stained fluid (MSF). Previous studies have shown increased intraamniotic infection (IAI) and postpartum endometritis (PPE) rates in patients with MSF. Intraamniotic infection has been reduced with the prophylactic administration of ampicillin–sulbactam in MSF. Intraamniotic infection and PPE have been reduced with the use of AI in patients with clear fluid. No investigators have specifically examined the efficacy of AI in reducing meconium-stained, amniotic-fluid-associated infectious morbidity.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of all cases of MSF was conducted and included patients who delivered at Louisiana State University Medical Center–Shreveport during the one-year period from January to December 1996. Patients were identified from the perinatal database by the diagnosis code of MSF. The medical records were reviewed to determine the consistency of MSF and the presence or absence of infectious morbidity. Patient demographics, labor characteristics, and various risk factors for infection were sought. The main outcome measures were the occurrence of clinical IAI or PPE. Statistical analysis included two-tailed unpaired t-test, X2, ANOVA, and Fisher exact test when appropriate.
Results: Two hundred seventy-three medical records of patients with MSF were studied. One hundred twenty nine patients received AI, and 144 did not receive AI. No significant differences in demographics, labor characteristics, or outcome variables were noted between the two groups. The incidences of IAI were 18.6% and 24.3%, P = 0.13, in the AI and non-AI groups, respectively. Postpartum endometritis occurred in 22.5% of AI patients and 21.5% of non-AI patients, P = 0.97.
Conclusions: The use of AI confers no benefit for the reduction of infectious morbidity in patients with MSF.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to formulate a statistical model that relates human microflora to probabilities for vaginal colonization by group B Streptococcus (GBS).
Methods: Longitudinal observations of total bacterial concentrations at various times during the menstrual cycle were obtained from overtly healthy, non-pregnant, menarcheal women. During each menstrual period and at appropriate intermenstrual times, the duplicate swab technique was used to sample the vaginal vault to obtain microbiologic samples. Women were identified as being colonized with GBS if their samples contained faculative gram-positive cocci. The method of generalized estimating equation (GEE) was used to model the longitudinal data set.
Results: Concentrations of Corynebacterium sp., Streptococcus spp., and total anaerobic bacteria were found to be risk factors for GBS colonization. The sensitivity of the predictive model is 84% and the specificity is 79%.
Conclusions: Although vaginal cultures for GBS are routinely performed to detect colonization, the statistical model described identifies associated risk factors which may be important determinants for GBS colonization.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the compliance rate with a maternal risk-factor-based guideline for the prevention of neonatal group B streptococcal (GBS) sepsis.
Methods: In August 1994, a risk-factor-based guideline for selective intrapartum prophylaxis against neonatal GBS was adopted by a group model health maintenance organization. This guideline identified the following maternal risk factors for neonatal GBS sepsis: preterm delivery, rupture of membranes for >18 h, fever/chorioamnionitis, and history of a previous GBS-affected child. Patients with one or more risk factors were to receive intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis consisting of either ampicillin, erythromycin, or clindamycin. We conducted a retrospective chart review to record risk factors and use of antibiotics. We hypothesized that >90% of patients with risk factors would receive intrapartum chemoprophylaxis.
Results: A total of 805 maternal charts were reviewed. Of these, 105 (13%) were candidates for intrapartum prophylaxis. We found an overall compliance rate of 65%. Compliance rates by risk factor were preterm delivery (51%), prolonged rupture of membranes (73%), fever/chorioamnionitis (87%), and previous affected child (100%).
Conclusions: Our results show unexpectedly low compliance rates with a risk-factor-based guideline for the prevention of neonatal GBS sepsis. Only 65% of women with any risk factor for neonatal GBS sepsis received intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis appropriately. Educational efforts to improve compliance with a risk-factor-based guideline should specifically address mothers delivering at 34–36 weeks gestation and mothers with prolonged rupture of membranes.
Metronidazole is used to treat trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, and other diseases. As is the case with many drugs, physicians often hesitate to use it during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. A review of the nearly four decades' worth of published literature on metronidazole use in pregnant women indicates that it is not teratogenic, regardless of the trimester in which it is used. On the other hand, a number of published studies indicate that bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis are associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. Treatment of these conditions with metronidazole during pregnancy may decrease the incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight, thus potentially decreasing the complications that can result from prematurity.
Objective: The safety and efficacy of ampicillin plus sulbactam were compared with those of cefoxitin in the treatment of women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Methods: This single-site, randomized, prospective, third-party-blinded, comparative, parallel-treatment study enrolled 93 women with a diagnosis of PID. Patients were treated with either ampicillin/sulbactam (2 g/1 g, administered intravenously [IV], every 6 h) or cefoxitin (2 g, administered IV, every 6 h) for a minimum of 12 doses. Patients with cultures positive for Chlamydia trachomatis also received concurrent oral or IV doxycycline (100 mg twice daily). Patients with cultures negative for C. trachomatis received prophylactic oral doxycycline (100 mg twice daily) for 10–14 days after treatment with either ampicillin/sulbactam or cefoxitin was completed.
Results: Ninety-three patients were entered in the study: 47 in the ampicillin/sulbactam arm and 46 in the cefoxitin arm. All 93 patients were evaluable for safety; 61 (66%) were evaluable for efficacy. Demographic characteristics were similar for the groups. Of the 27 evaluable ampicillin/sulbactam-treated patients, 67% experienced clinical cure, 30% improved, and 4% failed treatment. Respective values for the 34 cefoxitin-treated patients were 68%, 24%, and 9% (P = 0.67). Pathogens were eradicated in 70% of the women given ampicillin/sulbactam vs. 56% of those who received cefoxitin (P = 0.64).
Conclusions: Overall, ampicillin/sulbactam demonstrated clinical and bacteriologic efficacy at least equivalent to that of cefoxitin in the treatment of women with acute PID. The use of ampicillin/sulbactam for this indication may avoid the complex dosing regimens associated with other treatments.
Objective: We evaluated the effect of maternal administration of ampicillin/sulbactam on colonization and bacteremia in newborn rabbits after intracervical inoculation of mothers with group B streptococci (GBS).
Methods: New Zealand white rabbits on day 30 of a 31-day gestation were inoculated intracervically with 104−105 colony forming units (cfu) GBS. Two hours after inoculation mothers received ampicillin/sulbactam (50 mg/kg) or saline (control) intramuscularly as a single dose, in a randomized double-blinded manner. We induced labor 4 h later with intramuscular oxytocin. At delivery, cultures for GBS were taken from neonatal oropharynx. Thereafter, cultures were taken from neonatal oropharynx and anorectum daily and from neonatal heart at death or after 96 h. Sample size analysis showed a need for 17 pups in each group.
Results: In the control group, induction failed in one animal that was excluded from analysis. At birth, 0 of 39 pups of treated does had positive oropharyngeal cultures compared to 26 of 27 (96%) pups of saline-treated does (P < 0.0001). Pups treated with antibiotic in utero were also significantly less likely to have positive oropharyngeal cultures at 24, 48, and 72 h after birth compared to controls (24 h, 0% vs. 100%, P < 0.0001; 48 h, 8% vs. 100%, P < 0.0001; 72 h, 16% vs. 100%, P < 0.0001). Treated pups were significantly less likely to have positive anorectal cultures at 24, 48, and 72 h after birth compared to control animals (24 h, 0% vs. 100%, P < 0.0001; 48 h, 0% vs. 95%, P < 0.0001; 72 h, 0% vs. 92%, P < 0.0001). Treated pups were significantly less likely to have positive heart cultures at 72 h after birth compared to controls (11% vs. 92%, P < 0.0002). Cumulative neonatal survival was higher in treated pups compared to controls at 72 and 96 h after birth (72 h, 32% vs. 0%, P = 0.0003; 96 h, 26% vs. 0%, P = 0.015).
Conclusions: Single dose transplacental prophylaxis given 4 h before delivery resulted in decreased neonatal GBS colonization and bacteremia and improved neonatal survival in rabbits.
Objective: We have evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of a new synthetic peptide-based species-specific enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis IgG and IgA antibodies.
Methods: Synthetic peptides derived from variable domain IV of major outer membrane protein (MOMP) were used as antigen in indirect EIA. IgG and IgA antibodies were measured in parallel with serum samples from C. trachomatis culture positive, culture negative, and antigen positive patients, and women with suspected C. trachomatis infection and blood donors. Sera from children under 15 years of age were used as controls.
Results: Culture positive women, culture positive men, and antigen positive women had positive peptide serology in 84.2%, 61.3%, and 93.1% of the cases, respectively. Among C. trachomatis suspected women, the antibody prevalence was 63.6%. Randomly collected blood donors showed a prevalence of 21.5%. Children with C. pneumoniae antibodies determined with the microimmuno-fluorescence (MIF) method did not show any reactivity in the C. trachomatis peptide EIA.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the new EIA test is highly specific for C. trachomatis, and C. pneumoniae antibodies do not interfere. Both IgG and IgA antibodies appear within at least 2 weeks in acute phase of infection among both culture positive and culture negative patients.
Background: Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare condition. We report a fatal case arising from an episiotomy in a previously healthy woman.
Case: A healthy 23-year-old prima gravida white female underwent vaginal delivery with repair of a proctoepisiotomy. Eighty-four hours postpartum, she developed increasing perineal swelling with severe pain. She presented on the 4th postpartum day with edema, erythema localized to the perineum, and vital signs significant only for tachycardia of 120/min. With a leukocytosis of 45,000/μl (87%) neutrophils, she was admitted to the hospital with an initial diagnosis of perineal cellulitis and empirically started on broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotic therapy. The patient's condition continued to deteriorate and she was then transferred to our facility on postpartum day 9 where a team performed two radical debridements of all necrotic tissue. Despite this and a broadened antibiotic coverage, the patient eventually experienced cardiopulmonary arrest and died on postpartum day 12.
Conclusion: Necrotizing fasciitis must be considered in the differential diagnosis of the postpartum patient presenting with severe vulvar pain and erythema. Our patient exemplifies the obscure presentation with seemingly minimal skin changes. Any delay in diagnosis and treatment, which must include expeditious aggressive surgical debridement, will likely result in severe morbidity or mortality.
Heat shock proteins are highly conserved proteins present in organisms ranging from bacteria to man. They are both dominant microbial immunogens and among the first proteins produced during mammalian embryo development. Since bacterial and human heat shock proteins share a high degree of amino acid sequence homology, it has been suggested that sensitization to bacterial heat shock proteins during an infection may result in autoimmunity to human heat shock proteins. Infertile couples seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) may have been previously sensitized to bacterial heat shock proteins as a consequence of an asymptomatic upper genital tract infection. Due to daily clinical monitoring and precisely timed fertilization these patients are an ideal study group to investigate the effect of prior sensitization to heat shock proteins on preimplantation embryo development and implantation failure. Immune sensitization at the level of the cervix to the 60 kD heat shock protein (hsp60) has been associated with implantation failure in some IVF patients. Similarly, the highest prevalence of circulating hsp60 antibodies among IVF patients was found in the sera of women whose embryos failed to develop in vitro. To more directly assess whether humoral immunity to hsp60 influenced in vitro embryo development, a mouse embryo culture model was established. Monoclonal antibody to mammalian hsp60 markedly impaired mouse embryo development in vitro. These data suggest that immune sensitization to human hsp60, possibly developed as a consequence of infection, may adversely affect pregnancy outcome in some patients.
Chlamydia trachomatis can ascend from the cervix to the fallopian tubes and survive for long periods of time without causing symptoms. The immune response to infection clears the extracellular organisms but leads to development of a persistent intracellular infection. Repeated cycles of productive infection and persistence eventually induce tubal occlusion and infertility. Persistently infected cells continue to synthesize the chlamydial 60 kD heat shock protein (hsp60). Immunity to conserved regions of hsp60 may result in autoimmunity to human hsp60. Expression of hsp60 by the embryo and decidua during early pregnancy may reactivate hsp60-sensitized lymphocytes, disturb pregnancy-induced immune regulatory mechanisms, and lead to immune rejection of the embryo. Due to this mechanism women with tubal infertility who are sensitized to the human hsp60 may have a decreased probability of successful outcome after undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
The initial signal for triggering human parturition might be fetal but of trophoblastic origin. Concomitantly, this placental signal would have as its target not only the uterus but also the fetus by activating its hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. The latter would represent a second fetal signal which, at the fetomaternal interface, would amplify and define in time the mechanisms responsible for the onset of labor, implying changes in the myometrial and cervical extracellular matrix associated with the accession of the contractile phenotype for myometrial cells. At each phase of these processes in the utero-feto-placental system, the nature of these signals remains to be identified. Is there a single substance, or rather, and more likely, a combination of several?
We appear to be in the presence of dynamic systems of a neuro-immuno-hormonal type which are difficult to describe. Nevertheless, steroid hormones appear to coordinate their successive equilibriums until they become irreversible. Such irreversibility constitutes the essential sign of parturition.