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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology


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Minerva Ginecologica 2007 August;59(4):357-67

language: Italian

Placental insufficiency and intrauterine growth retardation

Amato N. A., Maruotti G., Scillitani G., Lombardi L., Pietropaolo F.

Unità Operativa di Ginecologia e Ostetricia, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Foggia, Italia


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Aim. Placental insufficiency is a pathological condition consisting of a placental functional deficit with multifactorial etiology; it can cause maternal complications such as edema, proteinuria, hypertension, etc. Our study aims to establish if placenta analysis after birth can lead to the identification of basic morphological alterations which can be easily documented and useful for the diagnosis of feto-neonatal pathologies.
Methods. We examined 60 pregnant women (45 primipara, 15 multipara). They were hospitalized in the period from March 1998 to March 2004 in different pregnancy periods because of fetus growth delay. After birth, a careful examination of the placenta has been carried out soon after spontaneous birth (weight, thickness, possible morphological alterations which could be macroscopically observed) and it was followed by an anatomo-pathological examination carried out at the Anatomopatho--logy Unit of Ospedali Riuniti in Foggia.
Results. Macroscopic examination, in the group of women at the first pregnancy, showed that there were no morphological alterations in the placenta in all the cases, but the weight was normal (400- 500 g) in 8 cases and it was less than 400 g in the other 37 cases. In the group of multipara, placenta did not shown morphological alterations in all the cases, but the weight was normal in only 3 cases and it was lower in the remaining 12 cases. The placental microscopic examination pointed out: infarct focus in 34 cases (60%), 12 (35%) of which were recent and 22 (65%) were old infarct focuses; immaturity of chorionic villus in 15 (30%) of the examined placentas; increase in the cytotrophoblast mitotic index in 49 cases (90%) and placenta with normal histological appearance in 11 cases (10%).
Conclusion. Placental examination, both with macroscopic and microscopic techniques, can lead to the identification of basic morphological alterations which can be easily documented and useful for the diagnosis of fetoneonatal pathologies. A good placental functionality influences both fetal life and postnatal life. Thus, a greater attention to the placental examination in routinary obstetric practice is suggested, especially for maternal and fetal pathologies.

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