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Canadian-led study shows amnioinfusion does not reduce risk of meconium aspiration syndrome

This release is also available in French

OTTAWA (September 1, 2005) An international randomized trial, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has revealed that amnioinfusion, the infusion of saline into the uterus, does not reduce the risk of meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), as previously believed. The study, which is led by Dr. William Fraser from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecolgy of the Universit de Montral and the Maternal-Child Health Centre associated with Ste-Justine's Hospital, is published in today's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

"Dr. Fraser and his colleagues have made an extremely important contribution to our knowledge about the possible prevention of MAS, a rare but very serious neonatal lung condition," said Dr. Michael Kramer, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. "The rigorous study methods and international scope of this randomized trial (56 study sites in 13 countries) provides very strong evidence against the use of amnioinfusion, and the results are likely to have a major impact on childbirth practices around the world."

Meconium aspiration syndrome (also referred to as meconium aspiration) occurs when a newborn inhales a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid during labor and delivery. Meconium is the material that fills the fetal intestinal tract during pregnancy and is formed from ingested amniotic fluid and dead intestinal cells. Although it is sterile, inhaled meconium is highly irritating to the lung when the infant takes its first breaths. It can cause a partial or complete blockage of the baby's airways when exhaling, making it difficult to breathe.

Meconium alters the amniotic fluid, reducing antibacterial activity and subsequently increasing the risk of perinatal bacterial infection. Aspiration induces 3 maj
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Contact: Sophie Langlois
sophie.langlois@umontreal.ca
514-343-7704
University of Montreal
1-Sep-2005


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