Pathologic placental lesions in early and late fetal growth restriction

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Introduction: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the differences in individual histopathologic placental lesions in pregnancies complicated by early-onset (<32 weeks at diagnosis) and late-onset (≥32 weeks at diagnosis) fetal growth restriction (FGR). Material and methods: A cohort study of 440 singleton pregnancies complicated by FGR, diagnosed according to standard ultrasonographic criteria, followed up and delivered at the same institution between 2010 and 2016. Placental lesions were classified according to the Amsterdam Placental Workshop Consensus Criteria. Pathologic examination of placentas from 113 healthy singleton term pregnancies served as controls. Binary and multinomial logistic regression models were used to evaluate the independent association of placental lesions with the type of FGR. Results: In our cohort the prevalences of early and late FGR were 37.3% (164/440) and 62.7% (276/440), respectively. The overall rates of preeclampsia (69/164 vs 59/276, P < 0.01) and absent/reversed umbilical artery pulsatility indices (61/164 vs 14/276, P < 0.001) were higher among early FGR than late FGR. Placental characteristics from early and late FGR pregnancies differed mainly in regard to maternal vascular malperfusion scores rather than fetal scores, with preeclampsia found to be a cofactor modulating the rates and severity of associated lesions. In the binary logistic analysis, recent infarcts (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.2-5), distal villous hypoplasia (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.0-3.2), atherosis (OR 2.71, 95% CI 1.35-5.47), persistent endovascular trophoblasts (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.03-2.7), and a reduced fetal/placental weight score (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.2-0.38) were independently associated with an increased likelihood of early FGR compared with late FGR. The sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve of the model were 60% (95% CI 51.2-66.2), 89.1% (95% CI 84.9-92.3), and 0.81 (95% CI 0.77-0.85), respectively, suggesting a fair to good predictive value. Conclusions: Individual placental lesions suggestive of increased rates of ischemia, defective remodeling of spiral arteries, peripheral hypoxia interfering with villus development, and reduced placental efficiency were significantly more common in early FGR than late FGR.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • fetal growth restriction
  • fetal vascular underperfusion
  • maternal vascular underperfusion
  • placental lesions
  • placental pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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