Placental venous lakes refer to a phenomenon of formation of sonolucent cystic spaces centrally within the placenta. Finding placental lakes during a second trimester ultrasound scan is not associated with any utero-placental complication or with an adverse pregnancy outcome. They can however be abnormal if very diffuse or if seen very early in pregnancy.
Placental venous lakes are a common occurrence, reported to occur in approximately 20% of pregnancies.
They usually result from peri-villous fibrin deposition with cystic change within areas of sub-chorionic fibrin.
Their presence tends to be associated with:
- increased placental thickness
- placenta accreta spectrum and abnormal placental villous adherence
- placental insufficiency, especially if seen early in pregnancy 5
- the presence of placental lakes is associated with increased maternal serum alphe-feto protein (MSAFP) levels
They are typically seen as relatively well defined hypo-echoic regions within the placenta.
Colour Doppler imaging may show low-velocity laminar flow within.
- placental anatomy
- placental developmental abnormalities
- placenta previa
- spectrum of abnormal placental villous adherence
- abnormalities of cord insertion
- abruptio placentae
- placental pathology
- vascular pathologies of placenta
- placental infections
- placental masses
- molar pregnancy
- twin placenta
- 1. Thompson MO, Vines SK, Aquilina J et-al. Are placental lakes of any clinical significance? Placenta. 23 (8-9): 685-90. Placenta (link) - Pubmed citation
- 2. Reis NS, Brizot ML, Schultz R et-al. Placental lakes on sonographic examination: correlation with obstetric outcome and pathologic findings. J Clin Ultrasound. 2005;33 (2): 67-71. doi:10.1002/jcu.20086 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Elsayes KM, Trout AT, Friedkin AM et-al. Imaging of the placenta: a multimodality pictorial review. Radiographics. 29 (5): 1371-91. doi:10.1148/rg.295085242 - Pubmed citation
- 4. O'Brien W, O'brien WT, Sr. Top 3 Differentials in Radiology, A Case Review. Thieme Medical Pub. (2009) ISBN:1604062266. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 5. Jauniaux E, Nicolaides KH. Placental lakes, absent umbilical artery diastolic flow and poor fetal growth in early pregnancy. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 1996;7 (2): 141-4. doi:10.1046/j.1469-0705.1996.07020141.x - Pubmed citation
Synonyms & Alternative Spellings
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