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Keywords:

  • amniocentesis;
  • amniotic fluid;
  • infection;
  • preterm delivery;
  • preterm labor;
  • twin gestations

Background. Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity plays a major role in the pathogenesis of preterm labor and delivery in singleton pregnancy. Nevertheless, this association is not well established among patients with multiple gestations. The purpose of our study was to explore the role of intraamniotic infection in the setting of twin pregnancies.

Methods. Consecutive women with twin gestations, intact membranes and preterm labor who underwent transabdominal amniocentesis under sonographic guidance. Amniotic fluid (AF) was retrieved from both sacs and cultured for aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms as well as for Mycoplasma species. Intraamniotic infection was defined as a positive AF culture for microorganisms. Mann Whitney U test or Student r-test or Fisher's exact test were utilized for analysis.

Results. Amniotic fluid was obtained from 74 patients. Sixty-eight women delivered prematurely (91.9%). Amniotic fluid culture results were positive for microorganisms in nine cases and all women with intraamniotic infection delivered prematurely as well as 59 (90.7%) patients with negative culture. Among the nine patients with intraamniotic infection, microorganisms were isolated from the presenting sac in five cases (55.6%), from both sacs in three patients (33.3%) and from the upper sac in the remaining case (11.1%). Patients with a positive AF culture had a more advanced cervical dilatation, a shorter interval amniocentesis-to-delivery and a higher incidence of clinical chorioamnionitis than those with a negative AF culture.

Conclusions. The prevalence of intraamniotic infection and clinical and histological chorioamnionitis in twin pregnancies and preterm labor is similar to singleton pregnancies and preterm labor. Therefore, women with multiple gestations and preterm labor should be managed as singleton pregnancies.