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Keywords:

  • circumferential;
  • complete;
  • cord accidents;
  • incomplete;
  • intrauterine death

Abstract

Objective

Amniotic sheets are the result of uterine synechiae that have been encompassed by the expanding chorion and amnion. Radiologically they are seen as ‘shelves’ in the amniotic cavity. The benign nature of such amniotic sheets has been documented in many case series in the literature. The objective of this study was to determine the characteristics (if any) of amniotic sheets that predict fetal outcome.

Methods

Between January 2001 and December 2002, detailed scans were performed in 30 476 singleton pregnancies at 18–32 weeks' gestation. Of these, 44 cases of amniotic sheets were detected. The characteristics studied were site of amniotic sheet and whether the amniotic sheet was complete (i.e. no free edge seen on ultrasound) or incomplete (i.e. presence of free edge seen on ultrasound). The primary fetal outcome studied was stillbirth.

Results

The incidence of amniotic sheets was 0.14%. Two were complete and 42 were incomplete. Of the 38 cases with known outcomes there were two intrauterine deaths. There was no association between fetal outcome and the uterine location of the amniotic sheet (i.e. upper two-thirds vs. lower third, P = 0.5). There was, however, an association between the completeness of the amniotic sheets and intrauterine death (P = 0.002). Both instances of intrauterine death occurred in the two cases with complete amniotic sheets. Postmortem examination suggested that cord accidents were the cause of intrauterine death in both cases.

Conclusions

This study supports the view that incomplete amniotic sheets are benign. It also suggests for the first time that complete amniotic sheets may be associated with intrauterine death. Copyright © 2005 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.