Archive issue

Current Health Sciences Journal

vol. 49 no. 4, 2023

1. Update in LV Only Fusion CRT Pacing: Annals and Future Perspectives

A. Gurgu, L. Petrescu, C.T. Luca, C. Vacarescu, G. Tartea, E.V. Goana, L. Cirin, D. Cozma

Triple-chamber cardiac devices are utilized for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and is the standard-of-care therapy for heart failure (HF) patients in the current guidelines. In the setting of biventricular (BIV) pacing it involves a mandatory implantation of right ventricular (RV) lead that allows simultaneous BIV pacing with 0 ms VV (ventricular to ventricular) interval. Nevertheless, it seems that response to CRT is not related to RV lead position. RV pacing is known for deleterious effects on RV/Left Ventricle (LV) function and should not be used in persons with normal atrioventricular conduction (AV) and sinus rhythm. As it compensates for the additional asynchrony induced by unnecessary stimulation of RV pacing, only pacing the left ventricle (LV) may result in improved cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) outcomes and a decrease in the number of individuals who do not respond to the procedure. Furthermore, leadless LV fusion CRT pacing without RV lead could be a potential CRT therapy alternative to BIV pacing in nonischemic heart failure patients with preserved AV conduction. The aim of our study is to made an update in cardiac resynchronization therapy with LV only fusion pacing.

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2. Stem Cell Treatments in Preclinical Relevant Stroke Models

L.R. Pinosanu, N. Wolff, D.G. Olaru, A.P. Wagner

Since stroke has limited treatment options, an active search for new therapeutic approaches is required. Initial excitement of using cell-based therapies to stimulate recovery processes in the ischemic brain turned into a more measured perspective, acknowledging obstacles related to the unfavorable environments associated in part with aging. Given the predominance of stroke in older populations, evaluating the effectiveness of cell therapies in aged brain environments is essential and clinically relevant. Despite a common perception of the aged brain being resistant to regeneration, recent research with neural precursor cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells indicates that cell-based therapy can promote plasticity and remodeling in the aged rat brain. However, significant differences in the aged brain compared to the young brain, such as expedited progression of ischemic injury to brain infarction, decreased rate of endogenous neurogenesis, and delayed onset of neurological recovery, must be noted. The effectiveness of cell-based therapies may further be connected to age-related comorbidities such as diabetes or hyperlipidemia, potentially leading to maladaptive or impaired brain remodeling. These age-related factors need careful consideration in the clinical application of restorative therapies for stroke.

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3. ELTD1 Review: New Regulator of Angiogenesis in Glioma

I. Buzatu, D.E. Tache, E.V. Manea Carneluti, O. Zlatian

Glioblastoma (GBM) is a severe brain cancer in which angiogenesis is controlled by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), such as Epidermal Growth Factor Latrophilin and seven transmembrane domain-containing protein 1 (ELTD1), which are crucial for tumor progression. ELTD1 is an understudied GPCR with a broad expression profile in various tissues, including the human brain, especially in the cerebral cortex. It plays a significant role in angiogenesis and tumorigenesis and is regulated by interconnected VEGF and DLL4/Notch pathways. ELTD1 also modulates the JAK/STAT3/HIF-1? signaling axis, affecting the response of cells to low-oxygen conditions and promoting cell proliferation. However, their specific ligands and functional mechanisms remain unclear. ELTD1 expression is associated with different outcomes in various cancers. For example, in GBM, higher ELTD1 levels are linked to more mature and less leaky blood vessels, potentially enhancing drug delivery and therapeutic success. It also has divergent prognostic implications in renal, ovarian, and colorectal cancer. Additionally, ELTD1 overexpression in central nervous system endothelial cells suggests that it is a potential biomarker for multiple sclerosis. Therapeutically, blocking ELTD1 inhibits vessel formation, possibly slowing tumor growth. Initial therapies used polyclonal antibodies, but the shift has been towards more targeted monoclonal antibodies, particularly in preclinical glioma models. This review aimed to translate these insights into effective clinical treatments. However, several gaps remain in our knowledge regarding ELTD1 ligands and their potential involvement in other physiological or pathological processes that future research can address to elucidate the role of ELTD1 in cancer, through angiogenesis and other intracellular pathways.

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4. Aflibercept Versus Bevacizumab as First-Line Therapy in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

M.C.P. Salavat, E.P. Seclaman, A.A. Muat, M. Boruga, C. Patoni, M.N. Popescu, O.E. Teodorescu, O. Muat, S.I.P. Patoni

Background: AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is the main cause of central vision loss in the population over 60 years old. AMD does not affect peripheral vision and complete blindness does not occur, instead, central vision is affected both for distance and for near. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the neovascular form of AMD treatment and compare ocular and systemic effects after intravitreal injection of aflibercept, respectively after bevacizumab when administered in comparable dosages and regimens. We conducted a retrospective, single-center study from June 2021 to December 2022 and enrolled 20 patients with neovascular AMD who had not received any prior treatment for this condition. We randomly assigned them to two groups of 10: group one received aflibercept and group two received bevacizumab as intravitreal injections under aseptic conditions. We excluded 2 patients who did not meet the criteria and ended up with two groups of 9 patients who received monocular treatment. We gave the patients 3 monthly injections of anti-VEGF agent and followed them up at 1 month, 3 months, and 9 months after the treatment. We assessed their visual acuity, intraocular pressure and OCT appearance at each follow-up visit. The primary outcome was visual acuity. All 18 patients included in the study reported an improvement in visual acuity after the intervention. When comparing the two anti-VEGF agents, data revealed the effect of aflibercept was prompter and more long-lasting. Areas of retinal ischemia appeared in both cases. However, they were observed faster in the case of patients treated with aflibercept. Thus, neovascular AMD is a disease that occurs with age, it can be early detected by OCT and slowed the progression to central blindness with intravitreal treatment.

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5. Bone Injuries in the Hand and Forearm: Prevalence and Psychological Ramifications

A.F. Ghitan, V. Gheorman, V. Gheorman, F. Militaru, I. Udristoiu, M.E.Ciurea

Complex bone injuries in the hand and forearm pose considerable physical and psychological challenges to patients. However, there is limited research on the psychological effects of these injuries. This study seeks to clarify the psychological impact and frequency of injuries in various hand bones. This cross-sectional study included 166 patients with complex hand and forearm injuries. Injuries were classified based on amputations and fractures involving phalanges, fingers, and other bones. Psychological assessments utilised standardised tools to gauge post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) levels. Our findings suggest that injury rates differ among the phalanges and individual fingers. The intermediate phalanx (P2) of the thumb had the most injuries, while no injuries were found in the proximal phalanx (P1) of the small finger. Amputations and fractures were found to be positively associated with increased symptoms of PTSD. This study emphasises the importance of recognising the psychological effects of hand and forearm bone injuries. The data indicate the need for a multi-disciplinary treatment approach that includes psychological interventions for optimal patient care. The study emphasises the necessity for additional research to further investigate these matters.

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6. Understanding Attitudes Toward Influenza Vaccination: Insights from a Romanian Family Medicine Patient Population

C.M. Danilescu, V.M. Radulescu, A.R. Delureanu, M.C. Pirlog

Introduction: Influenza represents a global respiratory virus infection with significant individual and societal implications, leading to considerable economic burdens and substantial mortality rates. Vaccine hesitancy, characterized by delays or refusals despite vaccine availability, presents a growing challenge in achieving adequate vaccination rates globally. Aim: This study aimed to assess the attitudes of Romanian general practitioners' patients toward influenza vaccination during the recommended immunization period. Materials and Methods: A prospective multi-centered study involving 319 patients across five Family Medicine Offices in Romania was conducted. Participants completed a 12-item Vaccination Attitudes Examination (VAX) scale, assessing factors influencing vaccine acceptance. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate the impact of demographic variables and attitudes toward vaccination. Results: The study revealed significant variations in attitudes influencing influenza vaccine acceptance. Trust in vaccine benefits and confidence in natural immunity emerged as primary motivators for vaccine acceptance/denial, whereas concerns about commercial profiteering held lesser importance. Gender and residential environment impacted specific attitudes toward vaccination, while factors such as education and employment status did not significantly influence vaccine acceptance. Discussion: The study underscores the critical role of trust in vaccine benefits as a primary driver for vaccine acceptance, diverging from prevalent conspiracy theories. While gender and residential environment influenced attitudes toward vaccination, education and employment status did not exhibit significant correlations with vaccine acceptance. Conclusions: Understanding public attitudes toward vaccination is crucial in designing effective public health strategies. This study emphasizes the importance of trust in vaccine benefits in driving vaccine acceptance, offering insights to enhance vaccination initiatives regionally.

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7. Postoperative Pain after Inguinal Hernia Repair Using the Tension-Free Lichtenstein Procedure: A Retrospective Study

M. Racareanu, S.D. Preda, A. Predoi, S.Konstantinos, T.Bratiloveanu, G.F.R. Mogo, A. Dobrinescu, S.Ramboiu, D.Margaritescu, D. Cartu, V. Surlin

Inguinal hernia surgery is a constantly evolving field, with ongoing research efforts aimed at enhancing surgical techniques and outcomes for patients. This retrospective study conducted between 2015 and 2020 in the First Surgical Clinic of Craiova Emergency Clinical Hospital focused on the occurrence and characteristics of postoperative pain following inguinal hernia repair using the tension-free Lichtenstein procedure. A total of 178 patients were included in the study, with 16.85% reporting postoperative pain. The average pain intensity was 6.4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Patients described the pain as numbness, burning sensation, stinging, pressure, and tingling sensations. Notably, 50% of patients reported pain related to weather changes. While the study explored potential relationships between patient demographics, hernia type, and postoperative pain, no statistically significant associations were found. Approximately 20% of patients with postoperative pain reported adverse effects on their work, and 10% used analgesics for pain management. This study highlights the multifaceted nature of postoperative pain following inguinal hernia repair, emphasizing the need for further research to identify individual risk factors and adherence to international guidelines for hernia management. The findings also underscore the importance of effective pain management strategies to improve patient comfort and quality of life post-surgery.

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8. Is the Ellipsoid Formula Reliable in Prostate MRI?

R.V.Teica, C.M. Ciofiac, L.M. Florescu, I.A. Gheonea

Our study seeks to study the accuracy of the ellipsoidal formula in prostate MRI of different sizes and to establish the limits of its use. The study included 31 patients with a well-visualized, intact prostatic capsule, excluding malignantly transformed prostates, as well as treated prostates, in which the contrast between the prostatic capsule and parenchyma is reduced. Each patient's prostatic volume was recalculated according to the ellipsoidal formula, and then it was compared with the prostatic volume calculated by the segmentation method. The two calculated volumes were similar, in some cases almost identical, with a slight tendency to underestimate prostate volume below 100cm3, in total in 18 cases, on average by 7.6% (+/-6%), overestimation of those with a volume over 100cm3, a total of 13 cases, on average by 3.2% (+/-2.5%), and of all, in 4 cases the difference between the two formulas was below 1%.There was no statistical difference between the two variables, Student's t-test p-value=0.039. With a precision of 92% (+/-6%), the ellipsoidal formula can be considered accurate when it is correctly performed, but if we take into account the importance that PSA density is starting to have in diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, the calculation of a secondary value through the segmentation method or high-precision software can be motivated when the ellipsoidal formula returns a value close to a threshold.

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9. Predictive Value of Pulmonary Involvement in Stroke Patients Co-Infected with COVID-19

E.A. Pinosanu, E. Burada, D. Pirscoveanu, M. Aldea, C.V. Albu, R. Surugiu, R.E. Sandu

In response to the intricate clinical challenges posed by the intersection of COVID-19 and acute ischemic stroke, the Neuropsychiatry Hospital of Craiova, Romania, initiated a comprehensive study. This research aims to unravel the impacts of pulmonary complications on ischemic stroke outcomes, comparing patients with concurrent SARS-CoV-2 infection to those without. The study integrates pulmonary assessments, acknowledging the significant role respiratory involvement plays in the progression and prognosis of stroke patients during the pandemic. By systematically examining individuals with both acute ischemic stroke and COVID-19, the study seeks to shed light on the complex interplay between cerebral and pulmonary health. The findings are expected to enhance patient care by informing clinical decisions and leading to more effective management approaches for stroke patients in the COVID-19 era.

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10. The Role of Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio in the Assessment and Rehabilitation of Knee Osteoarthritis Patients

O.F. Fugaru, M.S. Serbanescu, M.R. Traistaru

Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered to be a real problem for many people. The last decade is characterized through an increased interest in using a non-specific, simply and readily available marker of inflammation-neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR)-to predict various chronic diseases (gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, lung cancer, cardiovascular events, sarcoidosis, arthritis). The aim of our study is to establish the correlation between NLR and other parameters of clinical and functional status in KOA patients and to compare the NLR values before and after rehabilitation program. 90 patients, aged 40 to 82 years, diagnosed with mild (8 patients), moderate (70 patients) and severe (12 patients) KOA, in accordance with Kellgren and Lawrence score. Statistical assessment showed different values for the erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR) rate at 1-hour, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and Lequesne index in the studied group. NLR regression was significant for ESR at 1 and 2 hours. As an independent diagnostic marker, NLR has limited value, however it can be considered an inexpensive additional biomarker for the diagnosis of KOA and for monitoring the rehabilitation program.

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11. Immunoexpression of Mismatch Repair Proteins in a Cohort of Colorectal Cancer Patients

A.E. Ciobanu, C.M. Marginean, C. Mesina, T.A. Balseanu, D. Ciobanu, M.M. Florescu

One of the molecular routes of colorectal carcinogenesis is the lack of mismatch repair (MMR) proteins, which may have substantial clinical consequences in predicting therapy success. This study aimed to analyze the expression of the MutL homolog 1 (MLH1), MutS homolog 2 (MSH2), and MutS homolog 6 (MSH6) in a cohort of 91 colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, and to evaluate the relationship between patient clinicopathological characteristics and immunoexpression of these biomarkers. In this study, we obtained the highest scores of the MLH1 immunoexpression in non-mucinous tumors, moderately differentiated lesions, and in stage IV. The highest values of the MSH2 and MSH6 scores were observed in mucinous tumors, and poorly differentiated lesions, in stages II-III, and stages III-IV, respectively. To improve the stratification criteria for targeted oncological therapy and to predict patient outcomes, markers used may help evaluate the aggressiveness of lesions.

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12. Should PI-RADS 3 be Subclassified According to ADC Values in the Transition Zone?

R.V. Teica, C.M. Ciofiac, L.M. Florescu, I.A. Gheonea

The premise of this paper starts from the fact that a more precise definition related to the intensity of the lesions on the ADC sequence can lead to a new subclassification of PI-RADS 3 lesions in the transitional zone and to an improvement of the specificity of the PI-RADS classification. The study was retrospective and included only patients who, based on prostate MRI examinations, contained exclusively PI-RADS 3 lesions, without other PI-RADS 4 or 5 lesions. The number of cases that meet all these conditions was reduced to 18, where a series of characteristics were noted for each one: PI-RADS 3 lesion area on the ADC sequence, the minimum and average ADC value of the lesion, the average ADC value of the transitional zone outside the lesion, PSA, prostatic volume, PSA density and biopsy result. The average ADC value of the negative lesions was 865(±165) µm2/sec, and of the positive ones was 869(±118) µm2/sec, which denies the hypothesis that there could be a value limit ADC to delimit PI-RADS 3 from PI-RADS 2 or 4 in this sample of patients. Furthermore, we reported the average ADC value of each such lesion to the adjacent unchanged transitional zone and obtained a greater difference of 432(±163) µm2/sec between the negative lesions and their adjacent transitional zone, compared to the difference of 399(±127) µm2/sec between the positive lesions and their adjacent ones.

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13. Factors Associated with Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation. A Retrospective Study

C. Rachieru, D.F. Lighezan, L. Petrescu, E.A. Tartea, E.V. Goana, R. Buzas, D. Cozma

Aim. The aim of our study was to retrospectively evaluate known factors such as CHA2DS2-VASc, but, also, new factors (such as left atrial remodeling), associated with the development of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFi). Material and Methods. We performed a retrospective study in which 251 patients with AFi were included. 47 patients had an ischemic stroke before the diagnosis of AFi, at the time of diagnosis or after AFi was diagnosed. The CHA2DS2-VASc score was analyzed for all patients together with other left atrial remodeling parameters. Results. We observed that among the patients with ischemic stroke approximately 61.70% were over 72.5 years old compared to those without stroke who presented this age in a proportion of only 44.61% (OR=2.001, P=0.0367). The CHA2DS2-VASc score had the greatest statistical impact for stroke, as expected. Patients with a CHA2DS2-VASc score >4.5 presented stroke in a proportion of 87.23% compared to CHA2DS2-VASc <4.5 who had stroke only in a proportion of 12.77% (OR=11.51, P=<0.0001). Regarding left atrial remodeling parameters, low LA ejection fraction was associated with a high percentage of stroke among patients (61.70%) compared to those with LA EF>34.5% who had stroke only in a percentage of 38.30% (OR= 2.124, P=0.0238). Conclusions. Although the CHA2DS2-VASc score remains a good factor for predicting the association of AFi with ischemic stroke, echocardiographic parameters for the evaluation of the left atrium can be used as new risk factors for predicting the occurrence of ischemic stroke in patients with AFi.

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14. Carcinoembryonic Antigen CEA - Prognostic Value in Immediate Post-Operative Mortality in Colorectal Cancer

A. Firut, S. Scurtu, M. Schenker, N. Gadea, A.M. Patrascu, V. Padureanu, S. Patrascu, V. Surlin

Introduction: This study investigates the prognostic significance of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels in predicting early postoperative mortality in patients who have undergone colorectal cancer surgery. Methods: Between 2017 and 2022, total of 325 patients were enrolled in the study, and their preoperative serum CEA levels were measured. Relevant clinical and operative data were extracted and correlations between CEA levels and postoperative mortality was analysed. Results: Among the surgical cases, 180 patients (55.3%) exhibited elevated CEA levels. Within the early postoperative period of 30 days, 14 patients (4.3%) succumbed, comprising 8 cases (2.4%) of colon cancer and 6 cases (1.8%) of rectal cancer. Notably, only 3 cases (0.9%), consisting of 1 (0.3%) colon cancer and 2 (0.6%) rectal cancer cases, were associated with an elevated CEA level. However, no statistically significant correlations were observed between CEA levels and early postoperative mortality. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that increased CEA levels may not serve as a reliable non-invasive marker for identifying patients at high risk of early mortality in the context of colo-rectal cancer surgery.

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15. Holographic Techniques as a Novel Method for Intervention Planning: A Tertiary Centre’s Experience

A.F. D'aiello, L. Bognoni, F. Bevilacqua, D.G. Negura, P. Ferrero, A. Micheletti, A. Giamberti, S. Militaru, C. Militaru, M. Chessa

Advanced holographic visualization techniques are becoming increasingly important in clinical practice, not only for diagnostic purposes but also in the planning of interventional or surgical procedures. The traditional approach for visualizing anatomic structures is based on standard imaging modalities such as echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and cardiac CT scan (CCT) which, however, can only provide two-dimensional (2D) images thus limiting 3D perception. Many recent studies have shown that the use of 3D imaging modalities such as augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and holography improve the short and long-term outcome of percutaneous or surgical procedures. In this article, we report our experience on the use of the hologram in different clinical scenarios and in the field of university education.

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16. Intraparenchymal Hemorrhage after Cranioplasty in a Patient with Sinking Flap Syndrome

R.A.D.S. Junior, P.M.M. Filho, W.L. Padua, A.E. Martio, T.R. Bigolin

Decompressive craniectomy has been increasingly used in recent decades for the treatment of uncontrollable intracranial hypertension caused by trauma, malignant strokes, cerebral venous thrombosis, among others. Sinking flap syndrome (SFS) is a rare complication characterized by neurological deterioration after craniectomy. Here, we report the case of a 73-year-old female patient who presented with disorientation, lip rhyme deviation to the right and left hemiparesis after cardiac catheterization. In view of the presence of a malignant stroke, as well as the willingness of the family members to make a total investment to save the patient's life, decompressive hemicraniectomy was indicated. Subsequently, due to occasional headache attacks, nausea and vomiting, in addition to progressive depression of the subcutaneous flap, the possibility of SFS was suggested and cranioplasty was indicated, which occurred without perioperative intercurrences. Although the patient maintained a stable neurological status, a post-surgical computed tomography (CT) scan of the head showed a right intraparenchymal hemorrhagic lesion, associated with parenchymal expansion and midline deviation. To the best of our knowledge, intraparenchymal hemorrhages are not common complications after performing cranioplasty, and additional studies are needed to understand the reasons why this occurs. The mechanisms responsible for this type of injury are not well understood, but involve reperfusion damage and loss of brain compliance. Despite representing an uncommon complication, post-cranioplasty hemorrhage can cause severe morbidity to the patient, and early diagnosis and intervention are of great importance in these cases.

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17. Cystic Adenoid Carcinoma of Lacrimal Gland

S.B.D. Azeredo, N.B. Correa, A.E. Martio, P.M.M. Filho

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is an uncommon malignant tumor that accounts for less than 5% of head and neck cancers. ACC is characteristic for its indolent nature and its propensity for late distant metastases. Late diagnosis, tendency to perineural invasion, periosteal infiltration and local recurrence are factors of poor prognosis. Although studies still discuss the ideal treatment, the initial therapy consists of surgical resection, followed by postoperative radiotherapy.

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18. When a Chorangioma Becomes a Burden in Fetal Survival: A Reported Case with an Updated Literature Review

D. Burlacu, A. Burlacu, R. Belenyessy, B.Szabo, T. Mezei

Chorangioma is a rare non-trophoblastic benign vascular neoplasm originating from the primitive chorionic mesenchyme. Usually asymptomatic, it affects approximately 1% of female fetuses. We present the case of a giant placental chorangioma (GPC) in a preterm male pregnancy coexisting with a maternal neuroendocrine carcinoma. A 30-week primigravida was admitted to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic of the Targu-Mures Emergency Clinical Hospital, with abdominal discomfort, and an emergency C-section was performed for fetal congestive heart failure. Medical history revealed an advanced-stage rectal neuroendocrine carcinoma. At 20th gestational week, a well-vascularized placental mass was diagnosed. A 1500g premature male fetus was delivered. Histopathologically, the placental mass revealed an unencapsulated but well-circumscribed tumor with lobular architecture composed of congested vascular capillaries and thin-walled vessels. Diagnosis of giant placental chorangioma (GPC) was rendered. GPC is a challenging condition typically occurring in hypertensive or diabetic primigravidas with female fetuses. Antenatal management is suggested at an early stage for a desirable perinatal outcome.

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