4-11% of umbilical cords contain vitelline vessel remnants (VVRs). A recent study has described neutrophilic inflammation arising from VVRs and suggested an association with amniotic fluid infection (AFI).
During routine placental pathology sign-out over a six month period, we identified 70 cords with VVRs. HE-stained sections were re-examined for “VVR-derived funisitis,” which was classified as low or high grade/stage based upon whether neutrophils were present only in Wharton’s jelly near the VVRs or whether neutrophils were also present near the cord’s amniotic surface. The same placentas were also examined for histologic evidence of AFI (maternal response = acute chorionitis or chorioamnionitis vs. fetal response = chorionic vasculitis, umbilical vasculitis, or funisitis vs. both).
Neutrophilic inflammation arising from VVRs was present in 54.3% (38/70); 15 and 23 lesions were low and high grade/stage, respectively. “VVR-derived funisitis” was strongly associated with histological evidence of AFI elsewhere in the placenta. Its overall sensitivity and specificity were 0.94 and 0.88; when VVR-derived funisitis was high grade/stage or diagnosed in the third trimester, specificity rose to 1.0.
“VVR-derived funisitis” has a strong association with histological evidence of AFI.