Article Text

Role of Ureaplasma urealyticum in lung disease of prematurity


AIM To examine the role of Ureaplasma urealyticum colonisation or infection in neonatal lung disease.

METHODS Endotracheal aspirates from ventilated infants less than 28 weeks of gestation were cultured for U urealyticum and outcomes compared in infants with positive and negative cultures.

RESULTS U urealyticum was isolated from aspirates of 39 of 143 (27%) infants. Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) occurred significantly less often in colonised, than in non-colonised infants (p=0.002). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that in singleton infants, ureaplasma colonisation was the only independent (negative) predictor of RDS (OR 0.36; p=0.02). Both gestational age (OR 0.46; p=0.006) and isolation of U urealyticum (OR 3.0; p=0.05) were independent predictors of chronic lung disease (CLD), as defined by requirement for supplemental oxygen at 36 weeks of gestational age. Multiple gestation was also a major independent predictor of RDS and CLD.

CONCLUSIONS Colonisation or infection with ureaplasma apparently protects premature infants against the development of RDS (suggesting intrauterine infection). However, in singleton infants, it predisposes to development of CLD, independently of gestational age. Treatment of affected infants after birth is unlikely to significantly improve the outcome and methods are required to identify and treat the women with intrauterine ureaplasmal infection, before preterm delivery occurs.

  • Ureaplasma urealyticum
  • hyaline membrane disease
  • chronic neonatal lung disease
  • intrauterine infection
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  • Please note that the authors of this paper have noted a discrepancy in the reference list for this article.  Reference 2 should read:

    2.        Todd DA, Jana A, John E.  Chronic oxygen dependency in infants born at 24-32 weeks' gestation: the role of antenatal and neonatal factors.  J Paediatr Child Health 1997:33:402-7.

    From there on all references should be renumbered accordingly.


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