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  • Author: Magnus Westgren x
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Aims: Maternal infections with parvovirus B19, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and enterovirus have been associated with intrauterine fetal death (IUFD), but the incidence of these infections is not clear. This prospective study was conducted to estimate this incidence.

Methods: A prospective study of 38 months was conducted on cases of IUFD referred to Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Placental biopsies, fetal blood and amniotic fluid were collected from cases of IUFD (n=52). Placental biopsies from normal pregnancies at term (n=53) were used as controls. These tissues were examined for parvovirus B19 DNA, CMV DNA and enterovirus RNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Maternal viral serology was measured in 46 cases and virus isolation for enterovirus in maternal stool samples was performed in 31 cases.

Results: Viral nucleic acid was recovered in at least one tissue sample from six cases of fetal death (parvovirus B19 in two cases, CMV in three and enterovirus in one), while all placental biopsies from controls were found negative. Serological signs of primary maternal infection were found in two of the cases, and virus isolation for enterovirus was negative in all samples examined.

Conclusion: Parvovirus B19, CMV and enterovirus may be considered as etiologic agents in cases of fetal death. PCR on placental and/or fetal tissue improves diagnostic accuracy for these infections.


Objective: To compare ultrasound (US) and fetal autopsy findings in 2nd trimester termination of pregnancy because of structural fetal anomalies.

Methods: A total of 112 terminations of pregnancy (TOP) between 1999–2003 were reviewed retrospectively. The cases originated from a secondary and a tertiary Fetal Medicine unit in the south Stockholm area, using a common specialized perinatal pathology service. Karyotype was not known at the time of US examination. The findings were compared and classified into four groups according to the degree of agreement between US and autopsy.

Results: In 45% of cases there was total agreement between US and autopsy. In 40%, autopsy confirmed all US findings but provided additional information of clinical importance. Partial or total lack of agreement was noted in 11% and 4% of the cases, respectively. Areas of discrepancy involved mainly CNS- and cardiovascular abnormalities and, to a lesser extent, renal anomalies, abdominal wall defects and hydrops/hygroma. Regarding CNS abnormalities the overall rate of agreement was 62%; it was highest in acrania/anencephaly (92%) and lowest in hydrocephaly (39%).

Conclusion: We find an overall high degree of agreement between US and autopsy findings. Autopsy often provided additional information of clinical value and it should always follow US examination and TOP. Fixation of CNS is crucial for optimal results. Specific limitations of autopsy, i.e., detection of CNS abnormalities, may be reduced by complementary imaging techniques, such as MRI. The ability of US to detect cardiac anomalies is enhanced with the close contact to specialized fetal cardiology.


Aim: To determine infant survival and neonatal outcome after fetoscopic laser treatment of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

Results: In 53/71(75%) laser-treated TTTS cases, at least one twin was liveborn and in 42/71(59%) cases at least one twin survived infancy. Fetal survival did not differ between donors [41/71(58%)] and recipients [46/71(65%), P=0.36]. Among liveborns, infant survival was 29/41(71%) in donors and 36/46(78%) in recipients (P=0.12). Infant survival did not correlate to maternal characteristics (age, BMI, smoking or parity), gestational age at treatment or severity of TTTS (Quintero stage). No TTTS infant born before 25 weeks of gestation survived the first week. Among the 87 infant survivors, 26 (30%) had an Apgar score <7 at 5 min, 47 (54%) developed respiratory distress syndrome, 10 (11%) showed signs of severe brain damage, nine (10%) renal failure, eight (9%) bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and five (6%) infants developed retinopathy of prematurity ≥stage 3. There was no significant difference in neonatal morbidity between recipients and donors.

Conclusions: Fetal survival after laser treatment was comparable to that reported by other international centers. There was no significant difference in survival or neonatal morbidity between donors and recipients. Major neonatal morbidity was common, and combined with extremely preterm delivery the prognosis of TTTS is poor.