Relationships between Chlamydia trachomatis Antibody Titers and Tubal Pathology Assessed using Transvaginal Hydrolaparoscopy in Infertile Women


Address reprint requests to Hiroaki Shibahara, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1, Yakushiji, Minamikawachi-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan.


Problem: Since transvaginal hydrolaparoscopy (THL) was introduced as the first-line procedure in the early stages of the exploration of the adnexal structures in infertile women, it has been shown that THL is a less traumatic and a more suitable outpatient procedure than diagnostic laparoscopy. This study was performed to investigate the relationships between Chlamydia trachomatis antibody titers and tubal pathology assessed using THL in infertile women.

Methods: The C. trachomatis antibody titers (IgG and IgA) were evaluated by ELISA. The posterior of the uterus and the tubo-ovarian structures were carefully observed, and tubal passage using indigocarmine was confirmed using THL. THL was carried out in 32 infertile women having C. trachomatis antibody in their sera between May 1999 and October 2001. Unilateral salpingectomy had been performed on two of the 32 patients.

Results: Tubal occlusion was confirmed in 20 (32.3%) of the 62 tubes, while peritubal adhesion was diagnosed in 37 (59.7%) of the 62 tubes. Using receiver operating characteristics curves, the cut-off value of C. trachomatis IgG antibody titer to predict tubal occlusion was determined to be 3.55. Tubal occlusion was observed in 16 (51.6%) of the 31 tubes in patients with the C. trachomatis IgG antibody titer of more than 3.55, which was significantly higher in four (12.9%) of the 31 tubes having the antibody titer less than 3.55 (P = 0.004). However, there was no correlation between C. trachomatis IgG antibody titer and peritubal adhesion. As for C. trachomatis IgA antibody titer, there was no correlation between antibody titer and tubal occlusion or peritubal adhesion.

Conclusions: These results suggest that C. trachomatis infection is significantly associated with tubal pathology. Although the cut-off value of C. trachomatis IgG antibody titer to predict the existence of tubal occlusion was shown to be 3.55, we would suggest that THL or standard laparoscopy is performed to consider appropriate treatments in patients with past C. trachomatis infection because of the high prevalence of peritubal adhesion.