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Vol. 60, No. 2, 2005
Issue release date: August 2005

Increased Level of Granulocyte Elastase in Cervical Secretion Is an Independent Predictive Factor for Preterm Delivery

Nakai A. · Taniuchi Y. · Miyake H. · Nakai M. · Yokota A. · Takeshita T.
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Objective: The objective of this study was to explore whether increased levels of granulocyte elastase in cervical secretion is an independent predictive factor for preterm delivery before 34 weeks of gestation in the patient with preterm labor. Methods: One hundred and sixty-one women with preterm labor at 22–28 weeks of gestation were enrolled prospectively. The level of granulocyte elastase in cervical secretions was measured by immunoassay, vaginal secretions were collected for the microscopic evaluation of Gram-stained smears, and the uterine cervix was assessed by transvaginal ultrasonography. Results: Nineteen of 161 patients (12%) delivered before 34 weeks of gestation. Granulocyte elastase assessment had a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for preterm delivery of 53, 75, 22 and 92%, respectively. A positive elastase assessment was associated with a relative risk for preterm delivery of 2.9 (95% CI 1.3–6.6), whereas a positive bacterial vaginosis assessment and shorter cervical length less than 25 mm demonstrated a relative risk of 1.9 (95% CI 0.8–4.6) and 1.5 (95% CI 0.6–5.0), respectively. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery before 34 weeks of gestation is increased in the women with preterm labor who are found to have an increased level of granulocyte elastase in cervical secretions.

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