Our aim was to evaluate the clinical impact of routine amniotic fluid and neonatal surface swab microbiology at Caesarean section.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Microbiology data from 1 537 neonates delivered by Caesarean section were analysed in the light of clinical outcome.
1 340 (87%) neonates had non-pathogenic bacteria or negative culture results from both amniotic fluid and surface swab samples. Of the 197 (13%) neonates with pathogenic bacteria, 22 (1.4%) were diagnosed with infection, but only in 6 (0.4%) were the bacteria presumed to be responsible for the infection. Amniotic fluid and surface swab culture had sensitivities of 54% and 35%, and positive predictive values of 14% and 17%, respectively, for detecting a neonate at risk of infection.
Amniotic fluid and neonatal surface swab microbiology at Caesarean section contributes little if anything to postnatal management and can be safely dropped from operative routine.