Placental insufficiency

Placental insufficiency is a term given to a situation where the placenta cannot bring enough oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus.

Fetuses may present with intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) (especially asymmetrical IUGR).

It can be primarily caused by three main mechanisms 4:

  • impairment in maternal circulation
    • maternal hypertension
    • maternal thrombophilic disorders
  • impairment in fetal circulation
    • placental implantation over a fibroid
  • vascular thrombosis (e.g placental infarction)
  • maternal narcotic (cocaine/heroin) use

In chronic placental insufficiency, there is often abnormal umbilical arterial Dopplers with traces showing a reduction, absent, or reversal end-diastolic flow. 

Not part of a routine investigation. There are some reports suggesting the presence of restricted diffusion and reduced ADC values on MRI 2

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Article information

rID: 14525
System: Obstetrics
Section: Pathology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Insufficiency of the placenta
  • Insufficiency of placenta

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