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Background : Hydrops fetalis is defined as abnormal accumulation of serous fluid in two or more fetal compartments, and this malady is known to be associated with various pathologic conditions. Methods : We collected 149 cases of hydrops fetalis out of 2,312 autopsies, and we tried to elaborate the underlying causes of hydrops fetalis. The diagnosis was based on the material from either antenatal termination or intrauterine death. Results : The relative incidence of hydrops fetalis was 6.44% of all the pediatric autopsies we performed. The gestational age was evenly distributed from 18 to 33 weeks, except for 30 to 31 weeks. There was no sex difference in the incidence of hydrops fetalis. The main causes were cardiovascular diseases (30.9%), cystic hygroma (13.4%), chromosomal anomaly (8.05%), thoracic conditions (7.38%), followed by urinary tract malformation (4.03%), infection (4.03%) and anemia (3.36%). The most common chromosomal anomaly was Turner syndrome and the second one was Down syndrome. Conclusion : Since various conditions can be the cause of hydrops fetalis, pathologists should pay attention to elaborate the underlying causes in every single autopsy.


Background : Hydrops fetalis is defined as abnormal accumulation of serous fluid in two or more fetal compartments, and this malady is known to be associated with various pathologic conditions. Methods : We collected 149 cases of hydrops fetalis out of 2,312 autopsies, and we tried to elaborate the underlying causes of hydrops fetalis. The diagnosis was based on the material from either antenatal termination or intrauterine death. Results : The relative incidence of hydrops fetalis was 6.44% of all the pediatric autopsies we performed. The gestational age was evenly distributed from 18 to 33 weeks, except for 30 to 31 weeks. There was no sex difference in the incidence of hydrops fetalis. The main causes were cardiovascular diseases (30.9%), cystic hygroma (13.4%), chromosomal anomaly (8.05%), thoracic conditions (7.38%), followed by urinary tract malformation (4.03%), infection (4.03%) and anemia (3.36%). The most common chromosomal anomaly was Turner syndrome and the second one was Down syndrome. Conclusion : Since various conditions can be the cause of hydrops fetalis, pathologists should pay attention to elaborate the underlying causes in every single autopsy.