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J Perinat Med. 2006;34(6):447-58.

Normal and abnormal transformation of the spiral arteries during pregnancy.

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Perinatology Research Branch, NICHD, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


This article reviews the anatomy and physiology of the uterine circulation, with emphasis on the remodeling of spiral arteries during normal pregnancy, and the timing and anatomical pathways of trophoblast invasion of the spiral arteries. We review the definitions of the placental bed and basal plate of the placenta, their relevance to the study of the physiologic transformation of the spiral arteries, as well as the methods to obtain and examine placental bed biopsy specimens. We also examine the role of the extravillous trophoblast in normal and abnormal pregnancies, and the criteria used to diagnose failure of physiologic transformation of the spiral arteries. Finally, we comment on the use of uterine artery Doppler velocimetry as a surrogate marker of chronic uteroplacental ischemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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