Objective: The objective was to determine whether the interleukin-6 (IL-6) level in umbilical cord blood can be used for the prediction of histologic chorioamnionitis, funisitis, fetal membrane cultures and neonatal infection.
Study design: A case-control study was conducted on 30 controls (control group) and on 40 women with term premature rupture of the membranes (PROM group). The interleukin-6 concentration of cord blood was measured. Fetal membranes and newborn blood were cultured. Placentas were examined for histologic chorioamnionitis and funisitis. Receiver operator curve analysis was used to obtain a cut-off value of interleukin-6 concentration for predicting histological and clinical infection.
Results: The mean interleukin-6 level in cord blood was significantly higher in the PROM group (p=0.01). Histological chorioamnionitis and positive placental cultures were significantly higher in the PROM group (p=0.006 and 0.02, respectively). The PROM group had seven (17.5%) cases of funisitis and positive newborn blood cultures while neither was observed in the control group. A cord blood interleukin-6 level >29 pg/ml was found to have 84% sensitivity and 72.5% specificity for predicting positive placental cultures and 74.1% sensitivity and 76.7% specificity for identifying cases of histologic chorioamnionitis. For predicting funisitis and positive newborn cord blood cultures a cord blood interleukin-6 level >39 pg/ml has 100% sensitivity and 81% specificity.
Conclusion: Cord blood interleukin-6 level can be a tool for the evaluation of the extent of maternal-fetal infection and guides proper planning of the treatment.