Thrombosis Of Umbilical Cord: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Thrombosis of the umbilical cord occurs when one of the blood vessels in the umbilical cord gets occluded by a blood clot. Thrombosis is clotting of blood in a blood vessel.

The placenta connects the developing fetus to the uterus via the umbilical cord. It supplies oxygen and nutrients to the fetus from the mother’s blood and gets rid of wastes from the fetus.

The umbilical cord has 2 umbilical arteries and 1 umbilical vein. By and large, the thrombosis is usually seen in the umbilical vein. Rarely, there could be an occlusion in more than one blood vessel of the umbilical cord.

The condition calls for timely management to ensure minimum complications and good prognosis. On the other hand, fetal morbidity and mortality are fairly high in this condition. Most babies are stillborn or tend to have fetal distress.

What Causes Thrombosis Of Umbilical Cord?

Thrombosis of the umbilical cord can occur in pregnant women of all ages. It has been seen in 1 in 300 deliveries.

In most cases, the precise cause for its occurrence is unknown.

It may be caused by cord compression due to a host of factors such as – large fetus, cord stricture, or inflammation. An underlying condition which causes easy blood clot formations is another significant contributing factor for the condition.

Thrombosis of the umbilical cord does not occur by what the woman does or does not do, before or during pregnancy. Certain risk factors have been associated with the condition; these are:

  • Multiple pregnancies.
  • A big baby.
  • Torsion of the umbilical cord.
  • Stricture of the umbilical cord.
  • Inflammation of the umbilical cord.
  • An anomalous insertion of the umbilical cord to the placenta.
  • The presence of amniotic bands.
  • The presence of some medical condition in the pregnant woman which is responsible for easy blood clot formation.

Symptoms Of Blood Clot In Umbilical Cord

The symptoms of thrombosis of umbilical cord include:

  • Excessive bleeding at delivery.
  • A reduced flow of blood to the fetus causing fetal distress.
  • Impairment to the various organs.
  • Cerebral palsy in the fetus.
  • Fetal distress
  • Stillbirth

Treatment For Thrombosis Of Umbilical Cord

  • Thrombosis of the umbilical cord is a medical emergency and the management plan comprises of saving the baby and effectively dealing with the related complications of the case.
  • A vigilant surveillance of the pregnancy is very vital, given that, umbilical cord thrombosis is a high risk pregnancy.
  • There is no definitive method available to prevent the condition; thus a watchful and regular monitoring and observation during the pregnancy is very essential and recommended by doctors. Timely examinations and scans are very crucial.
  • Thrombosis of the umbilical cord can be a life threatening condition with a high mortality rate. In 65 % of the pregnancies having the disorder, a termination of the pregnancy may be advised by the doctor.
  • Failure to get timely treatment or a complete lack of treatment can result in the death of the fetus or may set off adverse health complications for the baby.
  • Usually, only the umbilical vein is involved in such a condition; however, in case the two umbilical arteries get blocked as well, then the prognosis becomes rather poor.