Development of a novel bedside index for the early identification of severe maternal infection.


UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Cork St, Dublin 8, Ireland. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : International consensus reports have recently recommended that the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) criteria for the diagnosis of sepsis should cease and that new bedside criteria need to be developed to improve prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. The aim of this retrospective audit was to evaluate a suite of four bedside clinical criteria, called the Early Maternal Infection Prompts (EMIP), in helping to identify women with a suspected severe infection who were admitted to a High Dependency Unit (HDU) in a large tertiary referral stand-alone maternity hospital.
METHODS : The four EMIP criteria were decided based on existing national obstetric guidelines and a review of the recent literature on maternal critical illnesses. Cases were identified from the HDU registry for the three years 2015-2017. Individual charts were retrieved, and the four EMIP parameters were measured at the time of the clinical assessment that led to the HDU admission. Clinical and sociodemographic details were computerised for analysis.
RESULTS : Of 73 women admitted with suspected severe maternal infection, the handwritten records were available in 69. The mean age was 31.3 years, 71% were multiparous and 26.1% were obese. Three quarters of cases were antenatal admissions. Infection was confirmed microbiologically in 56 (81.1%) of cases. There were no maternal deaths. There was no case of organ dysfunction diagnosed but two women required vasopressors to maintain blood pressure. Recordings of the maternal vital signs were not always fully completed before admission. In 69.1% (n = 47) of cases the temperature was elevated ≥ 37.5 C, in 81.2% (n = 56) of cases the heart rate was increased ≥ 100 bpm, in 51.9% (n = 27) cases the respiratory rate was increased ≥ 20 bpm, and in 25.4% (n = 17) cases the systolic blood pressure was ≤100 mmHg. At least one of the four EMIP criteria was abnormal in 91.3% (n = 63) of cases of suspected severe infection.
CONCLUSIONS : The audit confirmed that this bedside index has potential in helping to identify maternal infection early before sepsis develops. Prospective studies are required to evaluate the index in different settings, for different infections and at the different stages of maternal infection.


Maternal critical illness,Obstetric early warning scores,Sepsis,

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