Incidence and causes of perinatal death in prenatally diagnosed vasa previa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Steffany Conyers, Yinka Oyelese*, Ali Javinani, Marzieh Jamali, Nikan Zargarzadeh, Ranjit Akolekar, Junichi Hasegawa, Yaakov Melcer, Ron Maymon, Richard Bronsteen, Ashley Roman, Alireza A. Shamshirsaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to estimate the perinatal mortality associated with prenatally diagnosed vasa previa and to determine what proportion of those perinatal deaths are directly attributable to vasa previa. Data Sources: The following databases have been searched from January 1, 1987, to January 1, 2023: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase. Study Eligibility Criteria: Our study included all studies (cohort studies and case series or reports) that had patients in which a prenatal diagnosis of vasa previa was made. Case series or reports were excluded from the meta-analysis. All cases in which prenatal diagnosis was not made were excluded from the study. Methods: The programming language software R (version 4.2.2) was used to conduct the meta-analysis. The data were logit transformed and pooled using the fixed effects model. The between-study heterogeneity was reported by I2. The publication bias was evaluated using a funnel plot and the Peters regression test. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to assess the risk of bias. Results: Overall, 113 studies with a cumulative sample size of 1297 pregnant individuals were included. This study included 25 cohort studies with 1167 pregnancies and 88 case series or reports with 130 pregnancies. Moreover, 13 perinatal deaths occurred among these pregnancies, consisting of 2 stillbirths and 11 neonatal deaths. Among the cohort studies, the overall perinatal mortality was 0.94% (95% confidence interval, 0.52–1.70; I2=0.0%). The pooled perinatal mortality attributed to vasa previa was 0.51% (95% confidence interval, 0.23–1.14; I2=0.0%). Stillbirth and neonatal death were reported in 0.20% (95% confidence interval, 0.05–0.80; I2=0.0%) and 0.77% (95% confidence interval, 0.40–1.48; I2=0.0%) of pregnancies, respectively. Conclusion: Perinatal death is uncommon after a prenatal diagnosis of vasa previa. Approximately half of the cases of perinatal mortality are not directly attributable to vasa previa. This information will help in guiding physicians in counseling and will provide reassurance to pregnant individuals with a prenatal diagnosis of vasa previa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • neonatal death
  • perinatal mortality
  • prenatal diagnosis
  • stillbirth
  • vasa previa


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