Risk of preeclampsia in second-trimester triploid pregnancies

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Obstet Gynecol

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Obstetrics and gynecology

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


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End Page



OBJECTIVE: To determine the magnitude of the risk and the predictive clinical characteristics for development of preeclampsia when triploidy is diagnosed in the second trimester. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of databases maintained by the cytogenetics laboratories at the University of Iowa and University of North Carolina was performed to identify all cases of triploidy. We examined the karyotype, maternal serum screening (particularly the hCG level), ultrasound results, and evidence of maternal hypertensive disease. RESULTS: Seventeen cases of triploidy were identified between 1987 and 1996. Preeclampsia or hypertension complicated six of these cases with onset between 15 and 22.5 weeks' gestation. In these six cases, the serum hCG level was extremely high. Serum screening results were available in seven cases in which preeclampsia did not develop, and the hCG levels were under 0.09 multiples of the median in five of the seven cases. In all six cases in which preeclampsia or hypertension developed, there was sonographic evidence of placentomegaly. Sonographic findings in 16 of 17 cases revealed fetal growth restriction, oligohydramnios, fetal anomalies, placentomegaly, or a combination of these. CONCLUSION: In our series of pregnancies complicated by triploidy, the risk of developing preeclampsia or hypertension in the second trimester was 35%. It appears that elevated serum hCG levels and placentomegaly are associated with a higher risk of preeclampsia but low hCG levels are not. This information is important in counseling patients who are hesitant to terminate a pregnancy purely for a fetal abnormality, even if the anomaly is lethal.


Adolescent, Adult, Chorionic Gonadotropin/blood, Female, Genetic Testing, Humans, Hypertension/etiology, Incidence, Karyotyping, Polyploidy, Pre-Eclampsia/etiology, Predictive Value of Tests, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular/etiology, Pregnancy Trimester, Second, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors

Published Article/Book Citation

Obstetrics and gynecology, 90:6 (1997) pp.884-888.

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