Neuropathologic findings in stillbirths oftentimes provide insight into the specific mechanisms leading to death. Examination of the brains of stillborn infants may also identify pathophysiologic processes that result in prenatal brain injury in liveborn as well as stillborn infants and that lead to neurologic disorders in liveborn infants, such as cerebral palsy or the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A variety of abnormalities are found in the brains of stillborns, the most common including cerebral white matter necrosis (periventricular leukomalacia) or gliosis, germinal matrix or intraventricular hemorrhage, cerebral infarcts, pontosubicular necrosis, and spinal cord or brainstem necrosis. The 2 major hypotheses that have been proposed for the pathophysiology of cerebral white matter injury in the perinatal period are hypoxia/ischemia and infection/cytokines as the basis for injury. The fetal brain may be selectively vulnerable to various insults at specific stages of development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology