This study evaluates the practical utility of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as a diagnostic method for intrauterine fetal parvovirus infection in cases of hydrops fetalis. Paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed fetal tissues from cases of hydrops fetalis were assessed for parvovirus B19 by histology and PCR in conjunction with 32P hybridization. Of 673 fetal and neonatal autopsies performed at Women and Infants' Hospital for the years 1985 through 1990, 32 cases were determined to have hydrops fetalis, of which five were positive for parvovirus infection by both histology and the PCR. PCR was not used in seven (22% of the 32 hydrops cases because 1 μg of DNA was not available for study. Histology was as sensitive as PCR in detecting parvovirus B19 in fetal autopsy tissues from cases of hydrops fetalis, and could be used reliably in each case to diagnose parvovirus infection. In our hands, histology is as sensitive as PCR and less labor-intensive. We would reserve PCR for cases without inclusions and with a strong suspicion of parvovirus infection, or for fluids in which histological analysis is not available..
- Polymerase chain reaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine