Maternal azithromycin therapy for Ureaplasma parvum intraamniotic infection improves fetal hemodynamics in a nonhuman primate model

Meredith A. Kelleher, Ji Yeon Lee, Victoria H.J. Roberts, Christopher M. Novak, Ahmet A. Baschat, Terry K. Morgan, Miles J. Novy, Juha P. Räsänen, Antonio E. Frias, Irina Burd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Ureaplasma parvum infection is a prevalent cause of intrauterine infection associated with preterm birth, preterm premature rupture of membranes, fetal inflammatory response syndrome, and adverse postnatal sequelae. Elucidation of diagnostic and treatment strategies for infection-associated preterm labor may improve perinatal and long-term outcomes for these cases. Objective: This study assessed the effect of intraamniotic Ureaplasma infection on fetal hemodynamic and cardiac function and the effect of maternal antibiotic treatment on these outcomes. Study Design: Chronically catheterized pregnant rhesus monkeys were assigned to control (n=6), intraamniotic inoculation with Ureaplasma parvum (107 colony-forming units/mL, n=15), and intraamniotic infection plus azithromycin treatment (12.5 mg/kg twice a day intravenously, n=8) groups. At approximately 135 days’ gestation (term=165 days), pulsed and color Doppler ultrasonography was used to obtain measurements of fetal hemodynamics (pulsatility index of umbilical artery, ductus venosus, descending aorta, ductus arteriosus, aortic isthmus, right pulmonary artery, middle cerebral artery and cerebroplacental ratio, and left and right ventricular cardiac outputs) and cardiac function (ratio of peak early vs late transmitral flow velocity [marker of ventricular function], Tei index [myocardial performance index]). These indices were stratified by amniotic fluid proinflammatory mediator levels and cardiac histology. Results: Umbilical and fetal pulmonary artery vascular impedances were significantly increased in animals from the intraamniotic inoculation with Ureaplasma parvum group (P<.05). Azithromycin treatment restored values to control levels. Amniotic fluid prostaglandin F2 alpha levels were significantly higher in animals with abnormal umbilical artery pulsatility index (>1.1) than in those with normal blood flow (P<.05; Spearman ρ=0.6, P<.05). In the intraamniotic inoculation with Ureaplasma parvum group, left ventricular cardiac output was significantly decreased (P<.001), and more animals had abnormal right-to-left ventricular cardiac output ratios (defined as >1.6, P<.05). Amniotic fluid interleukin-6 concentrations were elevated in cases of abnormal right-to-left ventricular cardiac output ratios compared with those in normal cases (P<.05). Conclusion: Fetal hemodynamic alterations were associated with intraamniotic Ureaplasma infection and ameliorated after maternal antibiotic treatment. Doppler ultrasonographic measurements merit continuing investigation as a diagnostic method to identify fetal cardiovascular and hemodynamic compromise associated with intrauterine infection or inflammation and in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions or clinical management of preterm labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578.e1-578.e11
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Doppler ultrasound
  • azithromycin
  • chorioamnionitis
  • preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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