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Vasa praevia
Classification and external resources
Vasa praevia
ICD-10 O69.4
ICD-9 663.5
DiseasesDB 13743
eMedicine med/3276

Vasa praevia (vasa previa AE) is an obstetric complication in which fetal blood vessels cross or run in close proximity to the external orifice of the uterus. These vessels are at risk of rupture when the supporting membranes rupture, as they are unsupported by the umbilical cord or placental tissue.[1]


Vasa previa is present when fetal vessels traverse the fetal membranes over the internal cervical os. These vessels may be from either a velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord or may be joining an accessory (succenturiate) placental lobe to the main disk of the placenta. If these fetal vessels rupture the bleeding is from the fetoplacental circulation, and fetal exsanguination will rapidly occur, leading to fetal death.

Risk Factors[edit]

Vasa previa is seen more commonly with velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord, accessory placental lobes (succenturiate or bilobate placenta), multiple gestation, IVF pregnancy. In IVF pregnancies incidences as high as one in 300 have been reported.The reasons for this association are not clear, but disturbed orientation of the blastocyst at implantation, vanishing embryos and the increased frequency of placental morphological variations in in vitro fertilisation pregnancies have all been postulated [2]


  • The classic triad of the vasa praevia is: membrane rupture, painless vaginal bleeding and fetal bradycardia.
  • This is rarely confirmed before delivery but may be suspected when antenatal sono-gram with color-flow Doppler reveals a vessel crossing the membranes over the internal cervical os.[3][4]
  • The diagnosis is usually confirmed after delivery on examination of the placenta and fetal membranes[citation needed].


Immediate treatment with an emergency caesarean delivery is usually indicated.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yasmine Derbala, MD; Frantisek Grochal, MD; Philippe Jeanty, MD, PhD (2007). "Vasa previa". Journal of Prenatal Medicine 2007 1 (1): 2–13. Full text
  2. ^ http://www.rcog.org.uk/files/rcog-corp/GTG27PlacentaPraeviaJanuary2011.pdf
  3. ^ Lijoi A, Brady J (2003). "Vasa previa diagnosis and management.". J Am Board Fam Pract 16 (6): 543–8. doi:10.3122/jabfm.16.6.543. PMID 14963081. Full text
  4. ^ Lee W, Lee V, Kirk J, Sloan C, Smith R, Comstock C (2000). "Vasa previa: prenatal diagnosis, natural evolution, and clinical outcome.". Obstet Gynecol 95 (4): 572–6. doi:10.1016/S0029-7844(99)00600-6. PMID 10725492. 
  5. ^ Bhide A, Thilaganathan B (2004). "Recent advances in the management of placenta previa.". Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol 16 (6): 447–51. doi:10.1097/00001703-200412000-00002. PMID 15534438. 
  6. ^ Oyelese Y, Smulian J (2006). "Placenta previa, placenta accreta, and vasa previa.". Obstet Gynecol 107 (4): 927–41. doi:10.1097/01.AOG.0000207559.15715.98. PMID 16582134. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasa_praevia — Please support Wikipedia.
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39 news items

Western Morning News

Western Morning News
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:24:51 -0800

The fundraiser in Exeter, Devon, was held to raise awareness of vasa praevia, a rare pregnancy complication that killed Niki's son Harry 26 hours after his birth in 2012. Niki says she agreed to pay the pair £4,300 to pose for press pictures and ...

Western Daily Press

Western Daily Press
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:29:40 -0800

The event is held annually to raise awareness of vasa praevia, a rare pregnancy complication that killed Nikki's son Harry 26 hours after his birth in 2012. She says they told her they had filming early the next day - but she later saw photos of ...

Exeter Express and Echo

Exeter Express and Echo
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 01:00:00 -0800

The Harry Cunningham Trust was established in June 2012, following the very sad and unexpected death of Harry Arthur Cunningham, aged just 26 hours. Harry's life was cut short due to undiagnosed vasa praevia, and suffered a catastrophic bleed during ...

BBC News

BBC News
Sat, 15 Mar 2014 09:30:00 -0700

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death was vasa praevia - a rare condition that affects one in about 2,500 births in the UK. The condition affects 555 babies a year in the UK. Charity Vasa Praevia Raising Awareness says that the survival ...
Sky News
Thu, 22 Nov 2012 18:22:31 -0800

The condition is called vasa praevia. Blood vessels in the placenta grow abnormally and can rupture when a woman's waters break or the baby starts to move down the birth canal. At least one baby is affected by the condition every day in the UK. Women ...
Daily Mail
Mon, 19 Nov 2012 14:50:00 -0800

In vasa praevia, either the umbilical cord does not grow into the middle of the placenta as it should, but attaches around the edge of the placenta, leaving the blood vessels exposed; or the placenta develops in two parts and the blood vessels grow to ...

Exeter Express and Echo

Exeter Express and Echo
Fri, 30 May 2014 23:22:30 -0700

Due to complications during Harry's birth, caused by the undiagnosed Vasa Praevia, in which fetal blood vessels from the placenta or umbilical cord cross the entrance to the birth canal beneath the baby, Harry was starved of oxygen for 30 minutes ...

Bristol Post

Bristol Post
Fri, 03 Oct 2014 00:41:15 -0700

Sapphire suffered from a condition which affects blood flow between the placenta and foetus called vasa praevia. This illness kills around 95 per cent of the 555 babies born with it every year. The mother-of-five is calling for a routine scan to be ...

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