Fetal Autopsy and Placental Examination as a Complimentary Tool

  • Priyanka GogoiEmail author


Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is defined as the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies and affects 1% of couples trying to conceive; however, a definitive diagnosis is possible in only 50% of cases, and significant number of RPL remains unexplained despite intensive investigations of probable causes. The autopsy of the fetus as well the placental examination can help by providing additional information beyond that achieved by conventionally recommended investigations. The role of routine histopathological examination of evacuated products of conception in determining the etiology of RPL has generated a lot of debate and controversy. The limited amount of material available as well as the fragmented nature of the specimens submitted makes the morphological study particularly challenging. While not recommended as a part of routine workup of a patient of RPL currently, it cannot be denied that such an exercise allows identification of important etiology in few cases while giving direction for further diagnostic workup in others. However in the majority of cases the morphological examination alone is unlikely to alter clinical management. An optimized protocol for the histopathological evaluation of products of conceptus in RPL, supplemented with use of newer advanced techniques including immunohistochemistry, FISH, PCR, and microarray profiling, is the need of the hour to extract maximum diagnostic yield from these specimens.


Recurrent pregnancy loss Histopathology Products of conception 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur HospitalDelhiIndia

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