Objective: Our purpose was to determine whether amniotic fluid concentrations of interleukin-6 are of value in the antenatal diagnosis of acute inflammatory lesions (histologic chorioamnionitis) of preterm placenta and in the prediction of perinatal morbidity and mortality.
Study design: The relation among placental histologic findings, perinatal outcome, and amniotic fluid interleukin-6 concentrations was examined in 50 consecutive patients who delivered preterm neonates within 72 hours after amniocentesis. Interleukin-6 was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Receiver-operator characteristic curve was used for analysis.
Results: Patients with acute histologic chorioamnionitis had significantly higher median amniotic fluid interleukin-6 concentrations than patients without histologic chorioamnionitis (median 70.8 ng/ml, range 0.7 to 499.2 ng/ml vs median 2.9 ng/ml, range 0.8 to 16.0 ng/ml, respectively; p < 0.00001). An amniotic fluid interleukin-6 concentration > 17 ng/ml had a sensitivity of 79% (23/29) and a specificity of 100% (21/21) in the diagnosis of acute histologic chorioamnionitis and a sensitivity of 69% (18/26) and a specificity of 79% (19/24) in the prediction of significant neonatal morbidity (defined as neonatal sepsis, respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, intraventricular hemorrhage, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or necrotizing enterocolitis) and mortality. These sensitivities were significantly higher than those of amniotic fluid culture (79% vs 38%, p < 0.005; 69% vs 27%, p < 0.01, respectively).
Conclusions: Amniotic fluid interleukin-6 is a sensitive test for the prospective diagnosis of acute histologic chorioamnionitis and the identification of neonates at risk for significant morbidity and mortality.