Effectiveness of fetal fibronectin testing compared with digital cervical assessment of women with preterm contractions

Julio Mateus, Leonardo Pereira, Jason Baxter, Vincenzo Berghella, Jorge Tolosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of fetal fibronectin (FFN) compared to assessment of cervical dilation (CD) in clinical management of women with symptomatic preterm labor (PTL). Pregnant women presenting to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital between May 1, 2001 and November 30, 2002 with symptomatic PTL underwent FFN sampling and had a complete clinical evaluation including a pelvic bimanual examination. Inclusion criteria were singleton pregnancy, gestational age (GA) between 240 and 336 weeks, CD < 3 cm, and intact amniotic membranes. FFN samples were sent out and results were available within 4-12 hours. Clinical management including tocolysis, antenatal steroids, and hospitalization was determined based on digital CD assessment and FFN status. A dilated cervix was defined as CD > 1 cm. Ninety-three patients were included. Spontaneous preterm delivery (SPTD) at < 37 weeks occurred in 20 of 93 (21.5%) patients. Medical therapy use was significantly higher in patients with dilated cervix than in those with a closed cervix (all P values < 0.05). Tocolysis and steroid use in FFN-negative patients and FFN-positive patients were not significantly different. Furthermore, tocolytic use was higher in FFN-negative patients than in women with positive FFN (50% versus 42.1%; P = 0.53). Use of antenatal steroids was similar in patients with CD ≥ 1 cm and a positive FFN (54.5% versus 47.4%; P = 0.92). Compared with FFN-negative patients, women with closed cervix were less likely to undergo interventions. In symptomatic PTL patients, CD determined clinical management more than FFN status. Overall, the use of FFN was not effective in decreasing "unnecessary" clinical interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-385
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of perinatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Cervical dilation
  • Clinical interventions
  • Fetal fibronectin
  • Preterm labor
  • Spontaneous preterm delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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