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Placenta. 2004 Nov;25(10):788-96.

Fetal vasculitis in preterm newborns: interrelationships, modifiers, and antecedents.

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Perinatal Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, Hannover Medical School, OE 6415, 30623 Hannover, Germany.


Histologic expressions of the fetal inflammatory response predict preterm delivery and neonatal disorders. We examined 1146 placentas in the Developmental Epidemiology Network data set for histologic evidence of membrane inflammation (subchorionitis, chorionitis, and chorioamnionitis) and fetal vasculitis (acute umbilical vasculitis or chorionic vasculitis). Our main findings are that (1) in the presence of membrane inflammation, fetal vasculitis is common, (2) duration of membrane rupture and gestational age appear to modify the risk of fetal vasculitis, (3) this risk modification differs for the different components of fetal vasculitis, i.e. umbilical and chorionic vasculitis, and (4) antecedents can be identified that appear to increase or decrease the risk of fetal vasculitis among births with membrane inflammation. We conclude that fetal vasculitis, the morphologic component of the fetal inflammatory response, might not be a homogeneous entity and deserves further study.

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