Placental gross / microscopic abnormalities, nonneoplastic
Placental edema (placental hydrops)

Topic Completed: 1 October 2011

Minor changes: 18 February 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Placenta edema hydrops[title] "loattrfull text"[sb]

Mandolin S. Ziadie, M.D.
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Cite this page: Ziadie MS. Placental edema (placental hydrops). website. Accessed June 1st, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Accumulation of fluid in the placenta and umbilical cord
  • Results from a variety of fetal or maternal factors, including erythroblastosis fetalis, hemolytic disease of the newborn, infection, cardiac anomalies, fetal anemia, hemorrhage, congenital anomalies, chromosomal disorders or tumors
Gross description
  • Placenta is enlarged and pale when edema is marked
  • Placental weight may be greater than expected for gestational age
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Enlarged villi with edematous stroma and increased numbers of Hofbauer cells (macrophages)
  • Underlying cause of edema may be diagnosed based on other histologic findings
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