Overview of Services

Perinatal pathologists offer expert interpretation of placental, fetal and neonatal pathology to investigate underlying causes of poor pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, determine cause of death, make inferences about recurrence risk, and to inform potential treatment options.

A large component of the Perinatal Pathology practice at UAB is placental pathology. As the organ primarily responsible for maintaining intrauterine fetal life, the placenta and its pathology can provide strong clues or a likely explanation for poor pregnancy outcomes, and may help inform management of future pregnancies. Perinatal pathologists at UAB also evaluate postpartum hysterectomy specimens, often related to disorders of abnormal placentation.

We offer specialized autopsy examination of preterm and term stillbirths and neonatal deaths (greater than 20 weeks of gestational age), which are evaluated through the autopsy service. Full internal examination requires a highly specialized approach, and includes correlation between clinical data, postmortem radiologic evaluation, culture data, genetic studies (as applicable), placental pathology, and detailed external and internal macroscopic and microscopic findings. Specialized autopsy or external examination of fetuses and products of conception less than 20 weeks is performed as an integrated component of placental evaluation on the surgical pathology service, and may include many of the same components. We approach these cases from a multidisciplinary, clinicopathologic perspective, with frequent interaction with our Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Neonatology and Clinical Genetics colleagues, and often taking an active role in in-depth case reviews.  Placental and early fetal pathology specimens number approximately 2,400 specimens per year, and we perform more than 50 stillborn and neonatal autopsies per year.

UAB Perinatal Pathology also provides an expert consultative service for placental evaluation and we perform select postmortem examinations for several nearby outside facilities.

Training and Education

Residents and Fellows have the opportunity to receive advanced training in perinatal pathology as part of their experience on gynecologic/obstetric surgical pathology and autopsy rotations. Training includes exposure to weekly caseload as well as didactic lectures and interactive and didactic microscope sessions. The perinatal pathology faculty also provide lectures to the Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Genetics clinical fellows as well as Graduate Students in the Department of Genetics.

Research

The perinatal pathology staff is actively involved in research investigating fetal and placental pathology. Several multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research efforts are underway in collaboration with Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Neonatology, Genetics, and Child Neurology. Current projects investigate the placental correlates of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, maternal asthma, SARS-CoV2, cytomegalovirus, and HIV. 

Perinatal Pathology Staff

Virginia Duncan, MD, Assistant Professor, Anatomic Pathology - Section Head

Valeria Dal Zotto, M.D., Assistant Professor, Anatomic Pathology

Andrea Kahn, MD, Professor, Anatomic Pathology