Nonimmune hydrops fetalis in the liveborn: Series of 32 autopsies

María M. Rodríguez, Jocelyn H. Bruce, Xavier F. Jiménez, Rita L. Romaguera, Eduardo Bancalari, Otto L. García, Peter L. Ferrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Nonimmune hydrops fetalis (NIHF) or generalized soft tissue edema and cavity effusions may be due to cardiovascular diseases, congenital infections, genitourinary malformations, thoracic masses, placental conditions, chromosomal abnormalities, and idiopathic. We report 32 cases of NIHF from among 429 neonates who underwent autopsies (incidence 7.45%). Sixteen cases (50%) had cardiovascular disease; all were due to low output cardiac failure; 7 had structural congenital heart disease. Three of the children with congenital heart disease also had chromosomal abnormalities: 2 had trisomy 18 and 1 had Noonan syndrome. Among myocardial conditions were five subjects with cardiomyopathies (1 of each of the following types): oncocytic, dilated, endocardial fibroelastosis, cardiac glycogenosis, and carnitine deficiency; 3 had myocarditis, and 1 had cardiac rhabdomyomas. Congenital infections were due to cytomegalovirus in 3 cases, bacteria in 2, and parvovirus in 1. The mechanism of NIHF in these cases might be a combination of decreased myocardial contractility due to myocarditis and fetal anemia. Genitourinary diseases were present in 5 newborns: Two had congenital nephrotic syndrome, 1 had VACTER association, 1 had prune-belly syndrome, and 1 had urogenital sinus malformation. Intrathoracic lesions were found in 2 babies (pulmonary sequestration and diaphragmatic hernia). One twin died of volume overload due to twin transfusion syndrome. Only 2 newborns were classified as idiopathic. Our study shows that cardiovascular diseases that lead to heart failure or impaired venous return are more common in the liveborn (50%), whereas congenital infections are more common in the stillborn with NIHF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Anemia
  • Cardiac failure
  • Congenital infections
  • Edema
  • Hydrops fetalis
  • Neonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonimmune hydrops fetalis in the liveborn: Series of 32 autopsies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this