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Anembryonic gestation
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 O02.0
ICD-9 631

An anembryonic gestation (aka blighted ovum) is a pregnancy in which the very early pregnancy appears normal on an ultrasound scan, but as the pregnancy progresses a visible embryo never develops. In a normal pregnancy, an embryo would be visible on an ultrasound by six weeks after the woman's last menstrual period.

An anembryonic gestation is characterized by a normal-appearing gestational sac, but the absence of an embryo. It likely occurs as a result of early embryonic death with continued development of the trophoblast. When small, the sac cannot be distinguished from the early normal pregnancy, as there may be a yolk sac, though a fetal pole is not seen. For diagnosis, the sac must be of sufficient size that the absence of normal embryonic elements is established. A pregnancy is anembryonic if a transvaginal ultrasound reveals a sac with a mean gestational sac diameter (MGD) greater than 13 mm and no yolk sac, or an MGD >18 mm with no embryo.

Many centers offer mothers a follow-up ultrasound 10 days later to verify diagnosis.

Anembryonic gestation is one of the causes of miscarriage of a pregnancy. Several management options exist for anembryonic pregnancies which have not miscarried on their own.

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