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BACKGROUND: It is uncertain whether amnioinfusion (infusion of saline into the amniotic cavity) in women who have thick meconium staining of the amniotic fluid reduces the risk of perinatal death, moderate or severe meconium aspiration syndrome, or both. METHODS: We performed a multicenter trial in which 1998 pregnant women in labor at 36 or more weeks of gestation who had thick meconium staining of the amniotic fluid were stratified according to the presence or absence of variable decelerations in fetal heart rate and then randomly assigned to amnioinfusion or to standard care. The composite primary outcome measure was perinatal death, moderate or severe meconium aspiration syndrome, or both. RESULTS: Perinatal death, moderate or severe meconium aspiration syndrome, or both occurred in 44 infants (4.5 percent) of women in the amnioinfusion group and 35 infants (3.5 percent) of women in the control group (relative risk, 1.26; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.95). Five perinatal deaths occurred in the amnioinfusion group and five in the control group. The rate of cesarean delivery was 31.8 percent in the amnioinfusion group and 29.0 percent in the control group (relative risk, 1.10; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.25). CONCLUSIONS: For women in labor who have thick meconium staining of the amniotic fluid, amnioinfusion did not reduce the risk of moderate or severe meconium aspiration syndrome, perinatal death, or other major maternal or neonatal disorders. Copyright © 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.

Original publication

DOI

10.1056/NEJMoa050223

Type

Journal article

Journal

New England Journal of Medicine

Publication Date

01/09/2005

Volume

353

Pages

909 - 917