New system developed for determining causes of stillbirth

October 1, 2010

Investigators at the consortium Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network have developed a new system to assign the cause of death in stillbirths.

Investigators at the consortium Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network have developed a new system to assign the cause of death in stillbirths.

The study team conducted a complete evaluation of 512 stillbirths among 500 women, relying on postmortem examination, placental pathology, medical record abstraction, and maternal interview to determine clinical, pathologic, and pathophysiologic findings that might be considered the cause of death.

Using the data they collected, investigators then developed the Initial Causes of Fetal Death tool that incorporates known causes of stillbirths and designates them as possible or probable causes based on strict diagnostic criteria derived from published references and pathophysiologic sequences that lead to stillbirth. The tool encompasses 6 broad categories of causes of death: maternal medical conditions; obstetric complications; maternal or fetal hematologic conditions; fetal genetic, structural and karyotypic abnormalities; placental infection, fetal infection, or both; and placental pathologic findings.

Dudley DJ, Goldenberg R, Conway D, et al; Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network. A new system for determining the causes of stillbirth. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;116(2 pt 1):254-260.