Fetal Fibronectin Can Help Predict Risk of Preterm Birth

Test has a high negative predictive value in both singletons and twins

FRIDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Fetal fibronectin testing of women in preterm labor has a high negative predictive value for determining the risk of preterm birth for both singletons and twins, according to a report in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. A negative result suggests that women are unlikely to give birth in the next two weeks.

Glenn Markenson, M.D., from Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., and colleagues reviewed the charts of 429 singleton and 87 twin gestations. The women presented with symptoms of preterm labor (before 34 weeks) and underwent fetal fibronectin testing.

The researchers found that the preterm birth rate was 3.5 percent for singleton pregnancies and 28.7 percent for twin pregnancies. Fetal fibronectin predicted delivery within two weeks of testing with a sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of 82 percent, 90 percent, 17 percent and 99 percent, respectively, for singletons, and 71 percent, 74 percent, 19 percent and 97 percent, respectively, for twins.

"As noted in singleton pregnancies, fetal fibronectin testing in twins has a high negative predictive value," Markenson and colleagues conclude. "Fetal fibronectin evaluation may be a useful tool in screening twins with symptoms of preterm labor, because a negative result places these women at a low risk for delivering within two weeks of testing."

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