Spontaneous Abortion and the Pathology of Early Pregnancy

  • Simon Knowles

Abstract

Careful pathological studies of spontaneous abortion material are few and our understanding of the pathogenesis of abortion is correspondingly poor. The examination of abortuses is often delegated to the most junior pathologist, hence the widespread belief that there is little to gain from such studies. However, pathology departments do have a useful role to play in the management of abortion. In cases of repeated abortion, pathological abnormalities in mother or fetus may point to a treatable cause. Some abortion specimens may yield information which will modify maternal management, in cases of infection or trophoblast neoplasia for example. Accurate description of aborted material may help to elucidate obscure mechanisms involved in this most common of pregnancy complications. With a trend towards smaller families, later in life and with earlier bonding to a fetus often visualised by ultrasound in the first trimester, the emotional impact of spontaneous abortion is greater than ever. For all these reasons, simple products of conception should perhaps be treated more seriously in the diagnostic pathology laboratory.

Keywords

Influenza Oncol Malaria Estradiol Stein 

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© Springer-Verlag London 1993

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  • Simon Knowles

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