Nonimmune hydrops fetalis: clinical experience and factors related to a poor outcome

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
R A CastilloD Geist


Twenty-one cases of nonimmune hydrops fetalis diagnosed at the Medical College of Georgia during a 2-year period are presented. All fetuses satisfied strict diagnostic criteria and were evaluated according to a standard protocol. The corrected mortality rate was 95% with pulmonary hypoplasia being the most common cause of perinatal death. The mean gestational age at diagnosis was 24.8 weeks; in 57% of the cases the cause of nonimmune hydrops fetalis was identified. Fifteen fetuses had serial ultrasound assessment and in 19 cases postnatal evaluation was performed. Two factors that consistently conveyed a poor perinatal outcome were ultrasonographic evidence of malformation and/or the presence of persistent pleural effusions. A method for the quantification of fetal pleural effusions is presented and its clinical relevance is discussed.


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