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Umbilical Cord Varix

Last updated Jan. 7, 2019

Umbilical Cord Varix is a rare condition that may occur in pregnant women of all ages.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Varix of Umbilical Cord

What is Umbilical Cord Varix? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Umbilical Cord Varix is an abnormal dilatation of the umbilical vein within the umbilical cord. The term ‘varix’ indicates an abnormal enlargement of a blood vessel
  • The placenta is an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall. It is a disc shaped reddish brown structure that connects the fetus to the mother through the umbilical cord
  • The umbilical cord contains two umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein, providing a connection between maternal and fetal blood circulation
  • The normal function of placenta is to supply nutrients and oxygen to the fetus from the mother’s blood and remove wastes from the fetal body
  • Umbilical Cord Varix is a rare condition of unknown cause and with unidentified risk factors
  • Generally, no signs and symptoms of Umbilical Cord Varix are observed, either in the mother or in the fetus. However, the condition is linked to spontaneous termination of pregnancy and stillbirths
  • Umbilical Cord Varix requires prompt and appropriate treatment for an optimal outcome. The prognosis of the condition is generally guarded
  • Currently, Umbilical Cord Varix is a condition that cannot be prevented

Who gets Umbilical Cord Varix? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Umbilical Cord Varix is a rare condition that may occur in pregnant women of all ages
  • Women who are pregnant with both male and female fetuses can be affected
  • There is no racial, ethnic, or geographical predilection observed

What are the Risk Factors for Umbilical Cord Varix? (Predisposing Factors)

  • Currently, no risk factors have been identified for Umbilical Cord Varix
  • Research is being performed to identify the relevant risk factors

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Umbilical Cord Varix? (Etiology)

  • The exact cause of Umbilical Cord Varix (abnormal dilatation of the umbilical cord vein) is unknown
  • Research is currently being performed to identify the relevant causative factors

The condition is not caused by what the expectant mother does or does not do, either prior to or during pregnancy.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Umbilical Cord Varix?

There are usually no signs and symptoms of Umbilical Cord Varix in the expectant mother or developing fetus. In some cases, however, the following may be observed:

  • Decreased blood flow to the fetus causing developmental issues
  • Compression of blood vessels within the cord resulting in fetal distress
  • Non-reassuring fetal heart rates

How is Umbilical Cord Varix Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Umbilical Cord Varix may involve:

  • Physical examination along with an evaluation of one’s medical history
  • The healthcare provider may check for any signs of fetal distress
  • Prenatal ultrasound scan may reveal the abnormally enlarged umbilical vein
  • Color Doppler ultrasound flow studies are very useful
  • A careful examination of the placenta by a pathologist after birth of the child, to macroscopically (gross visual exam) and microscopically analyze the placental tissue may help establish a diagnosis

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Umbilical Cord Varix?

Complications due to Umbilical Cord Varix may include:

  • Compression of the blood vessel causing fetal distress
  • Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)
  • Stillbirths due to rupture of blood vessels during early labor
  • Respiratory distress, after the baby is born

How is Umbilical Cord Varix Treated?

  • There is no specific treatment for Umbilical Cord Varix
  • In case of any complications, supportive and symptomatic treatment is provided. An elective delivery should be considered in case of significant fetal distress
  • A careful and periodic monitoring of the pregnancy is necessary, since the presence of Umbilical Cord Varix is considered to be a high-risk pregnancy

How can Umbilical Cord Varix be Prevented?

  • Currently, there are no definitive methods available to prevent Umbilical Cord Varix
  • A careful and periodic monitoring of the pregnancy is advised and recommended

What is the Prognosis of Umbilical Cord Varix? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • Umbilical Cord Varix is associated with miscarriages and stillbirths and requires close and continuous medical attention, once the condition is diagnosed
  • Complications, such as fetal distress, can necessitate emergency delivery of the baby. However, the prognosis depends upon many factors and is guarded

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Umbilical Cord Varix:

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 25, 2015
Last updated: Jan. 7, 2019

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