The prevalence of histologic acute chorioamnionitis among HIV infected pregnant women in Uganda and its association with adverse birth outcomes

PLoS One. 2019 Apr 11;14(4):e0215058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215058. eCollection 2019.


Background: Preterm birth (PTB) is a leading cause of neonatal mortality and longer-term morbidity. Acute chorioamnionitis (ACA) is a common cause of PTB, however, there are limited data on the prevalence of ACA and its association with PTB in resource limited settings.

Methods: Data and samples came from a clinical trial evaluating novel strategies for the prevention of malaria in HIV infected pregnant women in Uganda. Women were enrolled between 12-28 weeks of gestation and followed through delivery. For each placenta delivered, three placental tissue types (membrane roll, umbilical cord and chorionic plate/villous parenchyma) were collected. Slides were assessed for diagnosis of maternal and fetal ACA by microscopic evaluation of neutrophilic infiltration using a standardized grading scale. The primary outcomes were PTB (<37 weeks), low birth weight (LBW, <2500 grams), and small-for-gestational age (SGA, birth weight <10th percentile for age). Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to estimate associations between 1) maternal characteristics (age, education, wealth, gravidity, gestational age at enrollment, placental malaria, anti-malarial prophylaxis treatment regimen, HIV disease parameters) and ACA, and 2) associations between ACA and adverse birth outcomes.

Findings: A total of 193 placentas were included in the analysis. The prevalence of maternal and fetal ACA was 44.5% and 28.0%, respectively. HIV infected women between 28-43 years of age had a higher risk of maternal ACA compared to those between 17-21 years of age (50.9% vs. 19.1%; aOR = 4.00 (1.10-14.5), p = 0.04) and the diagnosis of severe maternal ACA was associated with a significantly higher risk of PTB (28.6% vs. 6.0%; aOR = 6.04 (1.87-19.5), p = 0.003), LBW (33.3% vs. 9.4%; aOR = 4.86 (1.65-14.3); p = 0.004), and SGA (28.6% vs. 10.1%; aOR = 3.70 (1.20-11.4), p = 0.02). No maternal characteristics were significantly associated with fetal ACA and the diagnosis of fetal ACA was not associated with adverse birth outcomes.

Conclusions: Histological evidence of severe maternal ACA was associated with an increased risk of PTB, LBW, and SGA in HIV infected, pregnant Ugandan women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Chorioamnionitis / physiopathology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / pathology
  • HIV / isolation & purification*
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / etiology*
  • Uganda / epidemiology
  • Young Adult