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The Role of the Pathologist in the Diagnosis of Fetal Heart Disease

Abstract

The importance of autopsy in the event of fetal or neonatal death is widely demonstrated in several studies [1, 2, 3]. Thanks to the diagnostic power now provided by cross-sectional echocardiography, most structural and functional congenital heart diseases can be identified during fetal life. However, it is unreasonable to expect 100% sensitivity in all cases. In fact, many drawbacks can limit the ultrasonic examination, such as gestational age at the time of scan, fetal position, ultrasonic impedance of the maternal abdomen, examiner experience, and types of equipment used. In case of termination or spontaneous intrauterine death autopsy is still a valuable tool that provides clinicopathological correlation for clinicians and gives information to families regarding the risk of recurrence of specific diseases in future pregnancies. In the latter instance, evaluations can be made earlier in gestation, allowing informed decisions that will be in the best interest of the mother and fetus.

Keywords

Great Artery Arterial Duct Monary Vein Cardiac Specimen Fetal Heart Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2008

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