Friday, April 15, 2011

Fetal Ascites

Causes of fetal ascites (urine, meconium, bile, blood, or pus) include:
  • Urinary obstruction: Leading to urinary tract perforation and leakage of urine.
  • Hydrops: Presence of at least two abnormal fetal fluid collections (pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, ascites, or subcutaneous edema).
  • Chromosomal abnormality: Most commonly trisomy 21.
  • Infection: Presence of a thick placenta with fetal ascites and anasarca suggests infection from syphilis or cytomegalovirus.
  • Gastrointestinal atresia/obstruction: Meconium peritonitis from bowel rupture. Look for intraabdominal masses, bowel dilatation and intraabdominal calcifications.
  • Cardiac issues: For example, congestive heart failure.
  • Fetal trauma: Look for presence of abruptio placentae to suggest abdominal trauma.
  • Pseudoascites: Due to hypoechoic abdominal wall muscles. The "fluid" does not extend beyond the anterior margin of the ribs.


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