Shortened gestational age following multifetal pregnancy reduction: can chronic placental inflammation be the explanation?

J Matern Fetal Med. 2001 Jun;10(3):149-54. doi: 10.1080/714904316.


Objective: This study tests the hypothesis that chronic inflammatory foci in the placentas of siblings that undergo multifetal pregnancy reduction are associated with shortened gestational length.

Methods: Among 446 patients who underwent multifetal pregnancy reduction (MPR), 56 delivered at Mount Sinai Hospital, 37 (66%) had their placentas referred to surgical pathology and 29 (78%) of the 37 patients had tissue sampled from the placenta of the reduced sibling. Slides were reviewed (by C.M.S.) blinded to clinical data. Lesions were diagnosed using previously published criteria. Specifically, inflammatory lesions were correlated with the various perinatal parameters. Non-parametric testing considered p < 0.05 to be significant.

Results: Ten (35%) of 29 patients had chronic inflammation in the reduced placenta. Their gestational age at delivery was 33.1 +/- 3.2 weeks, compared to 35.8 +/- 2.3 weeks in those without chronic inflammation (Z = -2.53, p = 0.01). There was no difference between the cases with and those without chronic inflammation in the reduced placenta, in regard to past reproductive history or clinical assessment of the MPR procedure (e.g. the number of attempts, duration of the procedure, or post-procedural complications).

Conclusion: The majority of patients who underwent MPR did not develop a chronic inflammatory response to the process of 'resorbing' the placental tissues of the reduced sibling. However, a significant number (35%) of women who delivered viable offspring after MPR had chronic inflammation in the placenta, and had a shortened gestational length.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Maternal Age
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / pathology*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / physiopathology
  • Placenta / pathology
  • Placenta / physiopathology
  • Placenta Diseases / etiology*
  • Placenta Diseases / pathology*
  • Placenta Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Reduction, Multifetal / adverse effects*