From the Journals

Proposed triple I criteria may overlook febrile women at risk post partum



A large proportion of laboring febrile women are not meeting proposed criteria for intrauterine inflammation or infection or both (triple I), but still may be at risk, according to an analysis of expert recommendations for clinical diagnosis published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Mother and baby ©Cameron Whitman/Thinkstock

“Our data suggest caution in universal implementation of the triple I criteria to guide clinical management of febrile women in the intrapartum period,” according to lead author Samsiya Ona, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and her coauthors.

In early 2015, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) established criteria for diagnosing triple I in an effort to “decrease overtreatment of intrapartum women and low-risk newborns.” To assess the validity of those criteria, Dr. Ona and her colleagues analyzed 339 women with a temperature taken of 100.4°F or greater (38.0°C) during labor or within 1 hour post partum from June 2015 to September 2017.

The women were split into two groups: 212 met criteria for suspected triple I (documented fever plus clinical signs of intrauterine infection such as maternal leukocytosis greater than 15,000 per mm3, fetal tachycardia greater than 160 beats per minute, and purulent amniotic fluid) and 127 met criteria for isolated maternal fever. Among the suspected triple I group, incidence of adverse clinical infectious outcomes was 12%, comparable with 10% in the isolated maternal fever group (P = .50). When it came to predicting confirmed triple I, the sensitivity and specificity of the suspected triple I criteria were 71% (95% confidence interval, 61.4%-80.1%) and 41% (95% CI, 33.6%-47.8%), respectively. For predicting adverse clinical infectious outcomes, the sensitivity and specificity of the suspected triple I criteria were 68% (95% CI, 50.2%-82.0%) and 38% (95% CI, 32.6%-43.8%).

The authors cited among study limitations their including only women who had blood cultures sent at initial fever and excluding women who did not have repeat febrile temperature taken within 45 minutes. However, they noted the benefits of working with “a unique, large database with physiologic, laboratory, and microbiological parameters” and emphasized the need for an improved method of diagnosis, suggesting “a simple bedside minimally invasive marker of infection may be ideal.”

The study was supported by an Expanding the Boundaries Faculty Grant from the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. No conflicts of interest were reported.

SOURCE: Ona S et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Jan. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003008.

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