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Abnormal umbilical cord insertions in singleton deliveries: placental histology and neonatal outcomes


Aims This study aimed to identify any microscopic features associated with abnormal (membranous/velamentous or marginal) placental cord insertions and to analyse their adverse neonatal outcomes.

Methods We retrospectively analysed the records—including pathological findings, clinical information and pregnancy outcomes—for 1060 singleton pregnancies, involving newborn delivered after 24 weeks of gestation.

Results Marginal cord insertions were identified in 26.60% of cases and membranous cord insertions in 2.64%. Subchorionic vessel thrombus was more prevalent in marginal or membranous insertions (0.97%) than in normal cord insertions (0.27%) (p=0.129). Intervillous thrombi (13.73% vs 8.41%, p<0.05) and chorioamnionitis (8.53% vs 5.48%, p=0.089) were more prevalent in normal cord insertions. Premature rupture of membranes was significantly more commonly associated with abnormal (marginal 15.25% and membranous 17.86%) than with normal (9.87%) insertions (p<0.05). Pre-eclampsia was more common in the group with membranous cord insertions (7.14%) than in the other groups (marginal 0.35%; normal 0.80%) (p<0.05). Marginal and membranous placental cord insertions were associated with earlier gestational age at delivery and smaller fetuses than in the group with normal insertions. Intrauterine fetal demise, cardiac malformations and pregestational diabetes were also more common among cases of abnormal cord insertions.

Conclusions Subchorionic vessel thrombus and adverse pregnancy-related outcomes were more prevalent in cases of marginal/membranous cord insertion than for normal insertions.

  • placenta
  • pregnancy
  • infant
  • newborn
  • diseases

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The data supporting the findings of this study are available, but restrictions apply to their circulation as they were used under license for the present study, and are therefore not publicly available. The data may nonetheless be made available by the authors on reasonable request with the permission of the Ethics Committee.

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