The yolk sac in early pregnancy failure

Enrico Ferrazzi, Bruno Brambati, Alessandro Lanzani, Angelo Oldrini, Luana Stripparo, Silvana Guerneri, Edgar L. Makowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An attempt was made to visualize the yolk sac in 845 patients scheduled for chorionic villi sampling. The distribution of yolk sac diameters and the interpolating growth curve up to 11 weeks of development were analyzed in 239 pregnant women who were delivered of normal infants. The highest visualizing rate of the yolk sac in normal pregnancies was 97 at 7 weeks of gestation. A total of 130 miscarriages occurred before chorionic villi sampling. In these cases, the diameter of the yolk sac versus crown-rump length tended to be larger than found in normal pregnancies. The visualizing rate of the yolk sac in miscarriages after the embryo had been formed was significantly higher in those women who demonstrated fetal heart activity (82.1%) than in those who did not (54.5%). On the other hand, the yolk sac was observed in 44% of miscarriages without a visible embryo. These findings suggest different types of missed abortion. An abnormal karyotype was observed in 23 of 29 chromosomal analyses performed on aborted specimens. An abnormal karyotype was observed in all eight cases with only a yolk sac-like structure within the gestational sac.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988


  • chromosomal anomalies
  • embryonic growth retardation
  • miscarriages
  • ultrasonography
  • Yolk sac

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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