Parvovirus B19 in pregnancy: possible consequences of vertical transmission

Prenat Diagn. 2012 Sep;32(9):897-902. doi: 10.1002/pd.3930. Epub 2012 Jul 9.


Objective: The aim was to determine the outcome of pregnancies complicated by maternal Parvovirus B19 (B19) infection.

Method: Among 175 pregnant women referred to our clinic because of suspicion of a B19 infection, 63 with confirmed laboratory diagnosis of acute/recent B19 infection were followed up by ultrasound and Doppler measurement of the middle cerebral artery peak systolic velocity.

Results: The vertical transmission rate was 31.7% (20/63). Of the 20 infected, 8 had hydrops, 1 had signs suggestive of meconium peritonitis and 1 had an isolated hydrothorax. Three fetuses presenting with hydrops were treated with intrauterine blood transfusion. Two of them died while the last showed resolution of anemia. Among the five untreated hydropic fetuses, one presented with mild signs that resolved spontaneously, two died at 16 and 17 weeks of gestation and two had also cardiomegaly and the parents opted for elective termination of pregnancy. All the anemic fetuses had middle cerebral artery peak systolic velocity values more than 1.8 multiples of the median. No stillbirth occurred.

Conclusions: The outcome of uncomplicated cases with B19 infection is good. In the presence of hydrops prognosis was very poor. It seems therefore logical to attempt to pick up this ominous signs early.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Fetal Diseases / etiology*
  • Fetal Diseases / therapy
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / etiology*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical* / statistics & numerical data
  • Parvoviridae Infections / complications
  • Parvoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Parvoviridae Infections / therapy
  • Parvoviridae Infections / transmission*
  • Parvovirus B19, Human* / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult