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Keywords:

  • fetal fibronectin;
  • preterm birth;
  • preterm labour

Abstract

Aims:  To perform a comparative analysis of antenatal management received according to the results of cervico-vaginal fetal fibronectin (fFN) testing, and to review preterm delivery rates and fFN predictive values within a New Zealand population of women presenting with threatened preterm labour.

Methods:  Case note review of all fFN tests performed at Middlemore Hospital, South Auckland from August 2003 to March 2005 (n = 199). Data collected included risk factors for preterm delivery, signs and symptoms at presentation, antenatal management received after fFN test and outcome and delivery details. Positive and negative fFN results were compared.

Results:  Women with a positive fFN were more likely to receive antenatal corticosteroids (96.4 vs 4.7% RR 8.74 (95% CI 5.40–14.17)) and tocolysis (71.4 vs 2.4% RR 8.10 (95% CI 4.49–14.59)) and to be admitted antenatally (96.4 vs 54.4% RR 1.77 (95% CI 1.50–2.10)) with a higher mean cost of treatment ($NZ967.47 vs $NZ335.27 P < 0.05). Rates of delivery < 34 weeks were higher in those with a positive fFN (41.9 vs 0.7% RR 62.06 (95% CI 8.43–457.14)).

Conclusion:  Women with a positive fFN result received different treatment to those with a negative fFN. Use of fFN test in routine clinical practice allows management and resources to be targeted more appropriately and may limit unnecessary interventions.