Impact of different stages of intrauterine inflammation on outcome of preterm neonates: Gestational age-dependent and-independent effect

Carlo Pietrasanta, Lorenza Pugni, Daniela Merlo, Barbara Acaia, Dario Consonni, Andrea Ronchi, Manuela Wally Ossola, Beatrice Ghirardi, Ilaria Bottino, Fulvia Milena Cribiù, Silvano Bosari, Fabio Mosca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the impact of different stages of intrauterine inflammation (IUI) on neonatal outcomes, before and after adjusting for gestational age (GA) and other perinatal confounders. Methods: This was an observational, prospective, single-center cohort study including all eligible neonates with GA < 35 weeks and/or birth weight ≤ 1500 g born at a 3 rd level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between 2011 and 2014. Pathological patterns of placenta, membranes and cord were classified according to Redline's criteria. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were applied, either including or not GA among the covariates. Results: Of the 807 enrolled neonates, 134 (16.6%) had signs of IUI: among these, 54.5% showed just histological chorioamnionitis (HCA), 25.4% had HCA + funisitis (FUN) stage 1, and 20.1% had HCA + FUN stage 2-3. At univariate analysis, HCA increased the risk for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and bronchopulmonary dysplasia, while FUN (any stage) had a deleterious impact on all outcomes investigated. After adjustment for covariates not including GA, HCA was a risk factor only for ROP (OR = 2.8, CI: 1-7.8), while FUN (any stage) was still associated with increased ORs for all outcomes (p <0.01). Upon inclusion of GA in the regression model, the results differed remarkably. HCA was associated with lower risk for mechanical ventilation (OR = 0.3, CI: 0.1-0.7) and need for surfactant (OR = 0.5, CI: 0.2-0.9), while FUN (any stage) worsened clinical conditions at birth (p <0.05), increased the risk for early-onset sepsis (p <0.01), and increased the length of mechanical ventilation (FUN stage 2-3 only, RC = 6.5 days, CI: 2-11). No other outcome was affected. Conclusions: IUI, especially FUN, negatively impact most neonatal morbidities, but its effect is partially reverted adjusting for GA. Considered that GA is an intermediate variable interposed between prenatal causes of prematurity and outcomes, the appropriateness of adjusting for GA may be questionable.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211484
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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