Antenatal diagnosis of chorioamnionitis: A review of the potential role of fetal and placental imaging

Megan Hall*, Jana Hutter, Natalie Suff, Carla Avena Zampieri, Rachel M. Tribe, Andrew Shennan, Mary Rutherford, Lisa Story

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Chorioamnionitis is present in up to 70% of spontaneous preterm births. It is defined as an acute inflammation of the chorion, with or without involvement of the amnion, and is evidence of a maternal immunological response to infection. A fetal inflammatory response can coexist and is diagnosed on placental histopathology postnatally. Fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS) is associated with poorer fetal and neonatal outcomes. The only antenatal diagnostic test is amniocentesis which carries risks of miscarriage or preterm birth. Imaging of the fetal immune system, in particular the thymus and the spleen, and the placenta may give valuable information antenatally regarding the diagnosis of fetal inflammatory response. While ultrasound is largely limited to structural information, MRI can complement this with functional information that may provide insight into the metabolic activities of the fetal immune system and placenta. This review discusses fetal and placental imaging in pregnancies complicated by chorioamnionitis and their potential future use in achieving non-invasive antenatal diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1058
Number of pages10
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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