|Classification and external resources|
Chorioamnionitis is an inflammation of the fetal membranes (amnion and chorion) due to a bacterial infection. It typically results from bacteria ascending into the uterus from the vagina and is most often associated with prolonged labor. The risk of developing chorioamnionitis increases with each vaginal examination that is performed in the final month of pregnancy, including during labor.
The fetal membranes consist of two parts:
- The outer membrane is the chorion. It is closest to the mother and physically supports the much thinner amnion.
- The inner membrane is the amnion. It is in direct contact with the amniotic fluid, which surrounds the fetus.
Chorioamnionitis is diagnosed clinically in the setting of:
- maternal fever.
- uterine tenderness in the presence of confirmed premature rupture of membranes (PROM).
Chorioamnionitis can be diagnosed from a histologic examination of the fetal membranes.
Infiltration of the chorionic plate by neutrophils is diagnostic of (mild) chorioamnionitis. More severe chorioamnionitis involves subamniotic tissue and may have fetal membrane necrosis and/or abscess formation.
Severe chorioamnionitis may be accompanied by vasculitis of the umbilical blood vessels (due to the fetus' inflammatory cells) and, if very severe, funisitis (inflammation of the umbilical cord's connective tissue).
Treatment consists of:
- antibiotics (amoxicillin + gentamicin + metronidazole) for the mother, and
- quickly delivering the baby.
- Elmar Peter Sakala, MD, MA, MPH, FACOG. Professor of GYNOB, Loma Linda University of medicine, California. Codirector of Student Clerkship. Dept of GYNOB
- Wu YW, Colford JM (2000). "Chorioamnionitis as a risk factor for cerebral palsy: A meta-analysis". JAMA 284 (11): 1417–24. doi:10.1001/jama.284.11.1417. PMID 10989405.
3. Excess Digital Exams Raise Risk of Chorioamnionitis, Ob.Gyn. News, August 15, 1997
4. Centers for disease control and prevention (2002) Prevention of perinatal group B Streptococcal disease: revised guidelines from CDC. MMWR 51:RR-11:1–28