Factors Associated With in Utero Demise of Fetuses That Have Underlying Cardiac Pathologies

Christine E. MacColl, Cedric Manlhiot, Christiana Page, Brian W. McCrindle, Steven E.S. Miner, Edgar T. Jaeggi, Lynne E. Nield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Factors associated with in utero fetal demise (IUFD) of fetuses that have underlying cardiac pathologies are largely unknown. This case–control study aimed to define the prevalence of IUFD in fetuses with a diagnosis of cardiac pathologies and to identify prenatal predictors of IUFD. Between January 2004 and December 2010, 74 IUFD cases [4.6 %; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 3.7–5.8 %] were identified from 1,584 cases with a diagnosis of structural or functional cardiac lesions in the Hospital for Sick Children database. The cases were divided into right-sided (N = 28), left-sided (N = 23), great artery (N = 8), and miscellaneous (N = 15) groups. The control subjects (1:1 ratio) were fetuses that had cardiac pathology diagnosed within 48 h of the IUFD case. Multivariable regression models were used to determine echocardiographic predictors of IUFD. The prevalence of IUFD was greatest in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (8/16, 50 %) and Ebstein’s anomaly/tricuspid dysplasia (4/15, 27 %) and lowest in transposition of the great arteries (2/85, 1 %). The findings showed IUFD to be associated with hydrops in 17 (23 %) of the 74 cases and arrhythmia in 11 (15 %) of the 74 cases. The factors identified by univariable logistic regression analyses were right ventricular dysfunction [odds ratio (OR) 2.7; p = 0.001], left ventricular dysfunction (OR 1.8; p = 0.007), umbilical vein pulsations (OR 10.9; p = 0.002), and abnormal ductus venosus flow (OR 3.3; p = 0.01). The factors associated with IUFD in multivariable logistic regression models were cardiomegaly (OR 5.6; p = 0.01), hydrops (OR 29.5; p = 0.001), pericardial effusion (OR 4.1; p = 0.06), and extracardiac abnormalities (OR 7.2; p < 0.001). The prevalence of IUFD is greatest in conditions affecting the ventricular myocardium. The onset of IUFD appears to be related initially to right ventricular dysfunction. Closer surveillance is recommended for lesions at risk of IUFD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1414
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Demise
  • Echocardiography
  • Fetus
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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