Non-immune hydrops fetalis: a short review of etiology and pathophysiology

Am J Med Genet A. 2012 Mar;158A(3):597-605. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.34438. Epub 2012 Feb 2.


Hydrops fetalis is an excessive accumulation of fetal fluid. Hydrops is traditionally classified into either immune or non-immune hydrops (NIHF), but in practice, nowadays in the Western world >90% of hydrops is of non-immune origin. The basis of the disorder is an imbalance in the regulation of fetal fluid movement between the vascular and interstitial space. We previously suggested a diagnostic flow-chart for NIHF. In this short review we describe the main mechanisms leading to NIHF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Fluids
  • Fetus / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Hydrops Fetalis / etiology*
  • Hydrops Fetalis / physiopathology*
  • Lymphatic System / physiopathology