Gross and histomorphologic study of umbilical cord and its vessels in preeclampsia

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Addis Abeba University


Preeclampsia is the most common medical complication of pregnancy worldwide, occurring in an average of 4% of all pregnancies and accounting for 10% of perinatal and neonatal mortalityrate. Histomorphological changes in umbilical vessels are known to affect the critical functionsof placenta in the developing fetus. Relationships between umbilical cord abnormalities andpreeclampsia have been found to be a big debated issue in recent literature. This study aims toassess gross and histomorphological change of umbilical cord and it‟s vessels in preeclampticmothers as compared to low risk mothers at Black Lion Specialized and Gandhi Memorial Hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A case-control study was carried out in fresh specimens ofplacentas with umbilical cords on seventy-five mothers (50 controls and 25 cases). Gross morphologies were examined by inspection and measuring followed by microscopyexaminations of umbilical cord sections. Histological slides were taken from placental, middle, and fetal segments of the placenta. A reduction in the diameter of umbilical cord by a mean of0.93± 0.29cm was found in the preeclamptic group as compared to non preeclamptic mothers.The luminal diameter and wall thickness of umbilical arteries in preeclamptic mothers werefound reduced as compared to those from the non preeclamptic mothers. The reductions werehigher and significant in the fetal segment than the middle and placental segments. In case of umbilical veins, there was reduction of umbilical veins‟ luminal diameter and wall thickness in preeclamptic group at all segments. However, only the luminal diameter of umbilical vein at the placental segment, showed a significant decrement by a mean of 5.43 ±1.16mm. Therefore, thepresent study collectively found that although the length and site of insertion of umbilical cord did not show a significant difference, preeclamptic mothers have dramatically affected gross as well as histomorphology of the umbilical cord and its vessels as compared to non preeclampticmothers.



Umbilical cord, Preeclampsia, Pregnancy induced hypertension, Umbilical vessels, Histomorphology, Mothers,