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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to outline the aetiology and outcome of a series of fetuses with non-immune hydrops (NIH), detected prenatally. The findings are compared with a comprehensive review of recent reports. METHODS: This is a retrospective study reviewing all pregnancies complicated by NIH in the fetus and continued after 20 weeks of pregnancy over a period of 10 years. Outcome was obtained from postmortem reports, discharge summaries, communication with the clinicians or information from the parents. A literature search was also performed to identify all reports on NIH in the last 10 years. RESULTS: Seventy-one fetuses affected by NIH were included in this study. The aetiology of the NIH was identified prenatally in 40 cases. The most common causes of NIH were thoracic disorders, infections and cardiovascular disorders. Forty-four of the 71 (62%) fetuses were live-born. There were 10 neonatal deaths. Of the remaining 34 babies, 17 infants survived without morbidity. CONCLUSION: The survival rate of NIH is at least 48% in this study. Prenatal identification of the cause is possible in 56% of cases. The risk of neurodevelopmental delay in those that survive is 3 of 28 (11%).

Original publication




Journal article


Prenat Diagn

Publication Date





186 - 195


Adult, Female, Humans, Hydrops Fetalis, Infant, Newborn, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Prenatal Diagnosis, Retrospective Studies