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Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2019 Nov-Dec;22(6):513-522. doi: 10.1177/1093526619852869. Epub 2019 May 28.

Patterns of Placental Injury in Congenital Anomalies in Second Half of Pregnancy.

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Division of Pathology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.



Placental pathology in fetal congenital anomalies in second half of pregnancy is largely unknown.


Twenty-six clinical and 45 independent placental phenotypes from pregnancies ≥20 weeks of gestation with congenital anomalies divided into 4 groups were retrospectively compared with analysis of variance or χ 2 with 3 degrees of freedom and with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons: group 1 : 112 cases with heart malformations (with or without chromosomal anomalies), group 2 : 41 cases with abnormal karyotypes and anomalies other than heart malformations, group 3 : 87 cases with intrathoracic or intraabdominal mass-forming anomalies (mostly congenital diaphragmatic hernias and adenomatoid airway malformation), and group 4 : 291 miscellaneous cases with mostly skeletal, renal, and central nervous system anomalies not fulfilling the criteria of inclusion into groups 1 to 3.


Eight of 26 clinical (30.8%) and 16 of 45 (35.5%) placental phenotypes varied statistically significantly among the 4 groups (P <  .05), of those, 7 (26.9%) and 4 (8.9%), respectively, remained statistically significant after Bonferroni correction (P Bonferroni ≤  .002). Those placental phenotypes were placental weight, chorionic disc chorionic microcysts, fetal vascular ectasia, and luminal vascular abnormalities of chorionic villi.


Fetal anomalies in second half of pregnancy feature abnormal clinical phenotypes much more frequently than abnormal placental phenotypes. Chromosomal abnormalities with or without heart malformations tend to feature villous edema, and erythroblastosis of fetal blood, likely due to fetal heart failure. Mass-forming fetal anomalies feature placental histological lesions of shallow placental implantation, diffuse chronic hypoxic patterns of placental injury, and lesions of fetal vascular malperfusion, likely stasis-induced.


chromosomal abnormalities; fetal anomalies; heart malformations; placenta; shallow placental implantation


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