A new study by Northwestern University shows that women affected with COVID-19 have abnormalities in their placenta. It is said that the placentas have maternal vascular malperfusion (MVM), a condition that is encountered only in conditions like pre-eclampsia, stillbirth, premature birth, and reduced fetal growth conditions. Researchers insist physicians to monitor women who are pregnant and have COVID-19.
While respiratory problems are major, obstetricians are concerned about how the disease is impacting pregnant women. While we see that a similar disease like the SARS and MERS had their own impacts, COVID-19 is still a mystery to be unfurled. The SARS-CoV, which caused a pandemic back in 2003, is known to have affected at least 100 pregnant women. Prominent symptoms in them include miscarriage and maternal death. Similarly, it is also seen that MERS had such severe symptoms in pregnant women. Therefore, the need for analyzing the situation of pregnant women is urgent. We see that reports from China have already come out stating the abnormalities associated with pregnancy and COVID-19. Some of them include chorangioma, pervillous fibrin, and multiple villous infarcts. However, researchers can only speculate as there are no cases published in English regarding placental pathology in women diagnosed with COVID-19.
Researchers examined the placentas of 16 women with COVID-19 and compared them with the placentas of women with melanoma. Despite the small population of researchers, they have something in testing to observe. The researchers saw that 13 out of the 15 women developed the MVM condition. Comparatively, the researchers saw that on the control population, only 7,754 of 17,479 developed MVM, and 59 out of 215 melanoma patients developed MVM. The features of those MVM included chorangiosis and intervillous thrombi. Researchers speculate that the intervillous thrombi are possibly due to the thromboembolic conditions associated with the virus. In addition, chorangiosis was also more often associated with the disease due to reduced oxygen saturation. There was also no increase in acute inflammation pathology and Chronic inflammation pathology in these cases. The authors say that there is abnormal maternal circulation associated with COVID-19 in pregnancy. But the most fascinating thing of all is that no children had tested positive for the virus.
Although the study gives enlightens us with a lot of information, we should see that the study is yet to be peer-reviewed and is in its pre-print version. We should also note that the study population number was small, therefore it needs a large scale population to validate more findings.
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