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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000 Aug;42(8):554-60.

Five cases of brain injury following amniocentesis in mid-term pregnancy.

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Department of Neuropathology, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK.


This paper describes the neuroimaging and neuropathological findings in five cases of severe brain damage after traumatic mid-trimester amniocentesis, all performed between 1986 and 1994. Although fetal injury after amniocentesis has been reported, reports of brain injury are infrequent. Continuous ultrasound monitoring may reduce the risk of fetal injury but follow-up ultrasound scans can be falsely reassuring. Withdrawal of blood-stained fluid, particularly if it contains tissue fragments, should alert the operator to the possibility of fetal damage. Histological examination of such tissue fragments may confirm the nature of the fetal damage. The consequences of fetal brain injury are severe, all five of our cases showed evidence of disruption of brain development compatible with mid-term injury. Obstetricians and their patients should be aware of the small but significant risk of brain damage after mid-term amniocentesis.

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