Decidual vasculopathy in preeclampsia: Lesion characteristics relate to disease severity and perinatal outcome

D. U. Stevens*, S. Al-Nasiry, J. Bulten, M. E. A. Spaanderman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: In a proportion of patients with preeclampsia, unremodeled spiral arteries develop additional pathological changes, termed decidual vasculopathy (DV), or acute atherosis. DV has been correlated to adverse clinical outcome and increased placental pathology. However, it was unclear whether these effects pertained to individual features of DV. Methods: We performed a reanalysis of placental samples from preeclamptic pregnancies (n = 76), recording the number of vessels with DV, their location in the decidua and their morphological features. Results were correlated with clinical and placental parameters, using Spearman's rho test. P-value <0.05 was considered significant. Results: Total number of vessels with DV (totaIDV) correlated with higher diastolic blood pressure, higher urine protein-to-creatinine ratio, shorter gestational age, lower birth weight, 5 min APGAR score and umbilical artery pH, and with increased accelerated villous maturity, infarction and hematoma formation, but not with HELLP syndrome markers. Additionally, there was a striking correlation of increased perinatal mortality with the number of vessels located in the decidua basalis (DVbas), and with vessels showing DV with thrombosis (DVthrom). Other morphological features, such as foam cell infiltration, did not increase correlation strength. Discussion: In our study of preeclamptic placental samples, totaIDV related to worse clinical outcome and increased placental pathology. Moreover, DVbas and DVthrom related to perinatal death. DV could be a manifestation of an underlying (vascular) pathology, increasing the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Conclusions: In preeclampsia, totaIDV, DVbas and DVthrom correlated with increased placental pathology and adverse maternal and fetal outcome, most relevantly with perinatal mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-809
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Vasculopathy
  • Acute atherosis
  • Preeclampsia
  • Clinical outcome
  • Placenta pathology

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