What is hydrops

Hydrops fetalis

Synonym: Hydrops congenitus universalis
English: hydrops fetalis, fetal hydrops

1 definition

The Hydrops fetalis refers to an accumulation of fluid or edema in at least two fetal compartments or preformed body cavities.

2 incidence

Hydrops fetalis occurs in births with a frequency of about 1: 1,500 to 1: 4,000.

3 etiology

While in the past the most common cause of hydrops fetalis was rhesus incompatibility (classified as immunological), today it is mainly infections and malformations (classified as non-immunological) of the fetus. However, a cause can only be clearly assigned in around 50% of cases.

3.1 Fetal anemia

For example, fetal anemia occurs in

see also:Haemolyticus neonatorum disease

3.2 Congenital heart defects

Another cause of fetal hydrops is congenital heart defects, such as

If the fetal heart tries to counteract the anemia and increase the cardiac output volume, decompensation with heart failure can occur in addition to the anemia, which increases the water retention.

3.3 infections

3.4 Syndrome Associations

Syndromes in which hydrops fetalis can occur more frequently are

4 pathogenesis

The immediate cause of hydrops fetalis is almost always anemia. This is followed by hypoxic damage to the capillary walls with an increase in permeability and fluid leakage from the intravascular space into the extravascular space.

5 symptoms

The most common symptoms are

6 diagnostics

The diagnosis can already be confirmed intrauterine by means of sonography.

7 therapy

First of all, the anemia must be counteracted with blood transfusions and the edema reduced. The next step is to determine the cause of the anemia and, if possible, eliminate it.