Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Umbilical cord: torsion

Contributor(s): John R Dodam, Graham Munroe, Carla Sommardahl

Introduction

  • Umbilical cord twists   →   compromises the vascular supply to the fetus   →   abortion or high risk foal.
  • Cause: excessively long cord.
  • Diagnosis: examination of umbilical cord for focal demarcation of edema/hemorrhage, placenta/aborted fetus.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Excess cord length.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Total cord length<80 cm.
  • Particularly common around 6-8 months of pregnancy.

Pathophysiology

  • Normal cord length: 70-85 cm in total.
  • Longer cords   →   increased incidence of torsion   →   compromises blood supply to fetus may   →   abortion   Abortion: overview  .
  • Increased incidence of strangulation of fetal parts which may   →   abortion   Abortion: overview  .
  • Excessive cord length may   →   excessive twisting in either the amniotic or allantoic portion of the cord.
  • This leads to vascular obstruction and associated edema and hemorrhage into the cord vessel walls.
  • Lesser twists may   →   urachal compression.
  • Obstruction of the umbilical vessels   →   fetal death and abortion of the pregnancy.
  • It is normal to have some twisting to umbilical cord.
  • Need to demonstrate pathologic lesions in cord or fetus to confirm that twisted umbilicus was cause of abortion or compromised foal.

Diagnosis

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Snider T A (2007) Umbilical cord torsion and coiling as a cause of dystocia and intrauterine foal loss. Equine Vet Educ 19 (10), 531-534 VetMedResource.


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