Hydrops Fetalis



In many case of hydrops fetalis, the etiology is different from that of erythroblastosis fetalis (EF). Some of these hydropic fetuses are the result of fetal anemia and heart failure, but most cases are “idiopathic,” a euphemism for not knowing a precise etiology. Although the placental pathology is often similar to that of EF, substantial differences are also identified. In unexplained hydrops cases, the pathologist may be able to exclude specific causes. Often he or she is confronted with a stillborn, frequently a macerated, hydropic fetus, and is asked to provide an idea as to the mechanism that led to the fetal hydrops. In the following pages are reviewed the currently known entities of non-immunological hydrops followed by a discussion of “idiopathic hydrops fetalis.” Large series dealing with causes of hydrops fetalis are the following: Macafee et al. (1970), Moerman et al. (1982), Hutchison et al. (1982), Nakamura et al. (1987) and Machin (1989).


Congenital Heart Block Fetal Hydrops Sacrococcygeal Teratoma Fetal Anemia Mesoblastic Nephroma 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pathology and Reproductive MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.University Medical CenterSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Institut für Anatomie der Medizinischen Fakultät, Rheinisch-Westfälische TechnischeHochschule AachenAachenGermany

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