Intrapartum detection of Group B streptococci colonization by rapid PCR-test on labor ward

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2014 May;176:137-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2014.02.039. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Objective: Group B streptococci (GBS) may lead to early onset neonatal sepsis with severe morbidity and mortality of newborns. Intrapartum detection of GBS is needed. The objective was to compare a PCR-based test performed in the laboratory versus labor ward.

Study design: 300 patients were included prospectively. In phase I, swabs were analyzed by selective culture and rapid PCR in the laboratory. In phase II, swabs were analyzed accordingly, but the PCR test was conducted in labor ward. Test performances were analyzed and compared.

Results: In phase I the rapid PCR test had a sensitivity of 85.71% and a specificity of 95.9%. The GBS colonization rate was 18.67%. Overall 8.5% of the PCR results were invalid. In phase II the PCR test showed a sensitivity of 85.71% and a specificity of 95.65%. The GBS colonization rate was 23.3%. Overall 23.5% of swabs tested with PCR were invalid. Initiation of specific, short 2-hour training for operating personnel in the labor ward reduced the invalid test rate to 13.4%.

Conclusion: The rapid PCR-based test yields adequate results to identify GBS colonization when performed in labor ward. In order to reduce the number of invalid tests a short training period is needed.

Keywords: Group B streptococci; Neonatal sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Parturition
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification*