Spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma: an unusual cause of fetal mortality: a report of 3 cases and review of the literature

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2008 Jun;29(2):185-90. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318174e7e1.


Spontaneous hematoma of the umbilical cord represents a rare cause of fetal morbidity and mortality and the outcome is poor in half of the cases. There are many risk factors, such as infections, morphologic anomalies, alterations of the vessel walls, prolapses, twisting and traction of the cord, but in many cases the causes remain unknown. We present 3 cases of umbilical cord hematoma which took place at the end of the pregnancy and were followed by perinatal death of the fetus. In the 3 cases, which were autopsied including macroscopical and histopathologic examination of the placenta and the umbilical cord, a cordonal pathology was present; in all cases, there were alterations of the vascular wall, and in the third case inflammatory vasculopathy was found. In all 3 cases, the cause of death was attributed to acute anoxia due to the cordonal hematoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology*
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Hematoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / complications
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / etiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Umbilical Cord / pathology*