Ultrasonographic approach to diagnosis of fetal inflammatory response syndrome: a tool for at-risk fetuses?

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Abstract

Preterm parturition is a syndrome that may result from many underlying mechanisms. Infection and inflammation are the prominent ones. Intrauterine infection and inflammation have an effect akin to sepsis, and that is similar to systemic inflammatory response in adults. Indeed, there is evidence to support the association of a fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS) to systemic infection and inflammation. The utilization of invasive procedures for the prenatal diagnosis of FIRS is associated with a risk for complications resulting from the invasive method. The progress in the imaging quality of obstetrical ultrasound and the development of novel methods for functional anatomical assessment of the fetal organs may help to identify, noninvasively, fetuses at risk for FIRS in patients presenting with preterm labor. We review the studies describing advanced sonographic modalities and the imaging findings in the heart, thymus, kidney, adrenal glands, and spleen of these fetuses.

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