Author(s): Kidron D, Eidel J, Aviram R
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Fetal autopsies are effective in identifying the cause and/or mechanisms leading to death in cases of intrauterine fetal death. Autopsies for fetal anomalies are different. OBJECTIVE: To summarize our experience with 569 autopsies of fetal anomalies which were performed during an 18-year period. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 569 autopsies of fetal anomalies was conducted, out of a total of 1067 fetal autopsies. The pregnancy weeks were 14 - 41. RESULTS: Among 569 cases, 88\% were termination of pregnancies, 10\% intrauterine death and 2\% perinatal deaths. The diagnosis of a syndrome or disease process was made when a constellation of gross and/or histologic findings was met. Specific diagnoses were offered in cases of cystic diseases of kidneys, types of dwarfism, tumors and fetal hydrops. Teratogenic (acquired) processes, such as congenital infections, thrombosis and cerebral hemorrhages, were differentiated from malformations. In cases of multiple congenital anomalies, documentation of the entire spectrum of malformations facilitated the genetic counseling. DISCUSSION: First and foremost, the autopsy is performed in the interest of the parents, with their written consent and in accordance with limitations and requests which they pose. Autopsy results provide feedback to the prenatal imaging. They assist in focusing the genetic counseling. Autopsy reports provide tools of control for the health authorities. Autopsies for fetal anomalies are time consuming. They require skill and experience. They are helpfuL when the prenatal diagnosis raises differential diagnosis. They are Less helpful when the diagnosis is clear, i.e. chromosomal trisomy.
This article was published in Harefuah
and referenced in Journal of Medical & Surgical Pathology