Maternal and fetal vascular lesions of malperfusion in the placentas associated with fetal and neonatal death: results of a prospective observational study

Vardendra G. Kulkarni, K. Byranahalli Sunilkumar, T. S. Nagaraj, Zeeshan Uddin, Imran Ahmed, Kay Hwang, Shivaprasad S. Goudar, Gowdar Guruprasad, Sarah Saleem, Shiyam Sunder Tikmani, Sangappa M. Dhaded, S. Yogeshkumar, Manjunath S. Somannavar, Elizabeth M. McClure, Robert L. Goldenberg

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24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Fetal death is one of the major adverse pregnancy outcomes and is common in low- and middle-income countries. Placental lesions may play an important role in the etiology of fetal and neonatal deaths. Previous research relating placental lesions to fetal death causation was hindered by a lack of agreement on a placental classification scheme. The Amsterdam consensus statement that was published in 2016 focused its attention on malperfusions in the maternal and fetal placental circulations. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the relationships of placental maternal and fetal vascular malperfusions in fetal and neonatal deaths, focusing on the most important maternal clinical conditions in the pathway to fetal and neonatal deaths, such as maternal hypertension, antepartum hemorrhage, and decreased fetal growth. Study Design: This was a prospective, observational cohort study conducted at 2 Asian sites. The data collected included clinical history, gross and histologic evaluations of the placenta, and several other investigations and were used to determine the cause of death. The placenta was evaluated at both sites using the Amsterdam consensus framework. We estimated the risk of placental maternal and fetal vascular malperfusions in fetal and neonatal deaths. Results: Between July 2018 and January 2020 in India and Pakistan, 1633 women with placentas available for the study provided consent. Of these women, 814 had fetal deaths, 618 had preterm live births and subsequent neonatal deaths, and 201 had term live births. The prevalence of maternal vascular malperfusion was higher in the placentas associated with fetal deaths (58.4%) and preterm neonatal deaths (31.1%) than in the placentas associated with term live births (15.4%). Adjusting for site, maternal vascular malperfusion had a relative risk of 3.88 (95% confidence interval, 2.70–5.59) in fetal deaths vs term live births and a relative risk of 2.07 (95% confidence interval, 1.41–3.02) in preterm neonatal deaths vs term live births. Infarcts and distal villous hypoplasia were the most common histologic components of maternal vascular malperfusion. Compared with maternal vascular malperfusion (58.4%), fetal vascular malperfusion was less common in the placentas associated with fetal deaths (19.0%). However, there were higher frequencies of fetal vascular malperfusion in the placentas associated with fetal deaths (19.0%) than in placentas associated with neonatal deaths (8.3%) or term live birth (5.0%). Adjusting for site, fetal vascular malperfusion had a relative risk of 4.09 (95% confidence interval, 2.15–7.75) in fetal deaths vs term live births and a relative risk of 1.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.90–3.49) in preterm neonatal deaths vs term live births. Furthermore, there was a higher incidence of maternal vascular malperfusion in cases of maternal hypertension (71.4%), small for gestational age (69.9%), and antepartum hemorrhage (59.1%) than in cases of fetal deaths with none of these conditions (43.3%). There was no significant difference in the occurrence of fetal vascular malperfusion in the 4 clinical categories. Conclusion: Histologic examination of the placenta, especially for malperfusion disorders, is crucial in elucidating pathways to fetal and neonatal deaths in preterm infants. In particular, focusing on placental maternal and fetal vascular malperfusions during pregnancy is a means to identify fetuses at risk of fetal death and is an important strategy to reduce the risk of fetal death early delivery. We hope that the increased risk of fetal and neonatal deaths in these pregnancies can be reduced by the development of an intervention that reduces the likelihood of developing maternal and fetal vascular malperfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660.e1-660.e12
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume225
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Amsterdam criteria
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • adverse pregnancy outcome
  • antepartum hemorrhage
  • developing countries
  • fetal death
  • fetal growth restriction
  • neonatal death
  • perinatal morbidity
  • placental pathology
  • the PURPOSe study

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