Inflammation of the umbilical cord in cases of foetal asphyxia of unknown clinical etiology
Widholm, O.; Meyer, B.; Numers, C.
Gynaecologia 15(5): 386-399
Umbilical cord biopsies were examined from 35 patients with fetal asphyxia of clinically undetectable etiology, and from 24 control cases. The histological examination was particularly concerned with inflammatory changes in the umbilical cord. The control series comprised 9 cases of complicated pregnancy and 15 normal pregnancies without signs of asphyxia. Inflammatory changes occurred in 14 of the 35 cases of the asphyxia material (40%). Only 1 patient of the control series showed cord changes; the same patient also had toxemia. Attempts to explain the high incidence of inflammatory cord changes in the asphyxia series have taken into account the patients' age, parity, pregnancy complications, possible post-maturity, duration of delivery, the lapse of time from the discharge of amniotic fluid, fetal weight, umbilical cord length, and placental weight. No direct correlation could be found with any of these factors, except that most of the asphyxia patients with umbilical cord changes were delivered after calculated term. The explanation of the umbilical cord changes in the material examined is obviously to be sought in the plentiful admixture of meconium to the amniotic fluid, despite the fact that appreciable meconium resorption in the umbilical cord could only be demonstrated in 1 case.