Abnormal sonographic appearances of the yolk sac: which can be associated with adverse perinatal outcome?

Sinan Tan, Nuray Gulden Tangal, Mine Kanat-Pektas, Aysenur Şirin Özcan, Huseyin Levent Keskin, Gökçe Akgündüz, Mehmet Akif Teber, Halil Arslan


Aims: The present study aimed to determine whether yolk sacs with abnormal sonographic appearance are associated with adverse perinatal outcomes in both early and late gestation. Matherial and methods: A total of 305 viable singleton pregnancies with gestational age of 6 to 9 weeks were prospectively evaluated with respect to perinatal outcomes and sonographic characteristics of the yolk sacs. Results: An abnormal yolk sac was found in 66 pregnancies. In pregnancies with enlarged yolk sacs a miscarriage occurred in 37.5% of cases (3/8). The pregnancies with a yolk sac diameter ≥ 5 mm had a significantly higher risk of miscarriage (p = 0.005). The risk of miscarriage was statistically similar between the pregnancies with regular and those with irregular yolk sacs (p = 0.73). Miscarriage occurred in 3.8% of pregnancies with irregular yolk sacs (2/52) and none of pregnancies with echogenic yolk sacs (0/6). Adverse perinatal outcomes were not associated with either irregular or echogenic yolk sacs. Conclusions: An enlarged yolk sac visualized before the 7th week of gestation is strongly associated with a significantly increased risk for spontaneous miscarriage. The presence of an echogenic or irregular yolk sac appears to be unrelated to adverse perinatal outcome.


yolk sac; first trimester; miscarriage; pregnancy; ultrasound

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu.2014.2066.161.st1gt2


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