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Prenat Diagn. 2005 Nov;25(11):1015-8.

Hydrops fetalis: an unusual prenatal presentation of hereditary congenital lymphedema.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ha'Emek Medical Center, Afula, Israel.



To report a rare case of primary congenital lymphedema (PCL) presenting as hydrops fetalis.


The patient presented at 33(+4) weeks' gestation with polyhydramnios, massive bilateral hydrothorax, skin edema, scalp edema and minimal ascites. In utero thoracocentesis was performed and delivery was induced. Follow-up at 12 months of age revealed moderate bilateral foot edema with otherwise normal development.


The diagnosis of PCL was suspected on the basis of the family history. DNA analysis revealed a novel missense mutation, E1106K, in the tyrosine kinase domain of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 gene (VEGFR3/FLT4).


PCL should be considered in the differential diagnosis of hydrops fetalis. Knowledge of the favorable course, variable clinical presentation, therapy options and genetic basis should contribute to better pregnancy counseling and management.

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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