Placental findings in specific newborn / fetal or maternal conditions
Hydrops fetalis

Topic Completed: 1 October 2011

Revised: 19 February 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Hydrops fetalis [title] placenta

Mandolin S. Ziadie, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 1,498
Page views in 2019 to date: 1,387
Cite this page: Ziadie MS. Hydrops fetalis. website. Accessed November 21st, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Massive generalized fetal edema due to a variety of processes
  • Immune related: hemolytic disease of the newborn, previously the most common cause of hydrops fetalis
  • Nonimmune related: chromosomal abnormalities, infection, congenital cardiac / other anomalies, anemia, metabolic disorders and fetal tumors
Gross description
  • Edematous placenta
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Villous stromal edema with erythroblastosis (increased fetal nucleated red cells) and possibly intravillous hematopoiesis
  • No trophoblastic hyperplasia or cisterns (Hum Pathol 1985;16:785)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Placental hydrops

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