Blog – The Importance of Cord Analysis in Determining Prenatal Drug Exposure

Blog - The Importance of Cord Analysis in Determining Prenatal Drug Exposure

Fentanyl acts as a potent analgesic agent to manage pain during labor and delivery. However, prolonged prenatal exposure can make babies dependent on the drug and abrupt discontinuation can lead to conditions such as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). There is a lack of sufficient literature on the suitability of the umbilical cord as a specimen for drug testing.

A study by researchers at the United States Drug Testing Laboratories (USDTL) aims to analyze umbilical cord samples for newborns exposed to fentanyl and other commonly abused drugs. Another important goal of this research was the screening of fentanyl positive samples for co-exposure patterns. Drugs were screened and confirmed using ELISA and SPE techniques, respectively. The confirmation process was performed on the historical data of the umbilical cord obtained between January 1 and December 31 of 2020. Homogenized umbilical cord tissue samples were extracted on Clean Screen® DAU SPE Column (ZSDAU020, 200 mg Sorbent in 10 mL Cartridge),

Of the 23,104 samples, 9667 were positive for at least one drug. 429 samples were positive for fentanyl and nor-fentanyl. The mean concentrations of fentanyl nor fentanyl were 4029 pg/g and 10,756 pg/g, respectively. Morphine, amphetamine and cannabinoids had the highest co-positivity rates. Availability of medical records, substance abuse surveys and monitoring of long-term health outcomes are suggested for inclusion in future investigations.

Citation: Hariharan, Shanti, Donna Coe, and Joseph Jones. “Using Umbilical Cord Tissue to Identify Prenatal Exposure to Fentanyl and Other Commonly Abused Drugs.” Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 12.5 (2022): 434-442.

DOI: 10.4236/ojog.2022.125039

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