Fetal and Neonatal Hydrops
Hydrops fetalis (i.e., fetal hydrops) (HF) is a serious condition defined as abnormal accumulation of fluid in two or more fetal compartments. It presents as ascites, pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, and skin edema. In some patients, it may also be associated with polyhydramnios and placental edema. Potter was the first to distinguish nonimmune hydrops fetalis (NIHF) from immune hydrops. These days approximately 90% of cases of hydrops fetalis are due to nonimmune diseases. The basic mechanism for the formation of HF is an imbalance between interstitial fluid production and lymphatic return. The antenatal diagnosis of HF is made by the ultrasound finding of fluid accumulation in the fetus or placenta. The management of hydrops fetalis is a great challenge for fetal medicine specialists and neonatologists and the mortality rate still remains high.
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