Fetal anasarca

Last revised by Ammar Haouimi on 21 May 2020

Fetal anasarca refers to generalized fetal body edema and usually occurs as a component of hydrops fetalis. The fetal subcutaneous tissues appear diffusely thickened often to more than 5 mm. 


It occurs from a fluid shift from the intravascular compartment into the interstitial extravascular compartment as a result of impaired lymphatic drainage, capillary permeability, and/or capillary hydrostatic/oncotic pressures. 

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: marked anasarca with hydrops
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  • Case 2: fetal anasarca on plain film
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