International panel recommends unified approach for reporting placenta accreta spectrum

Chloe Meck

JUNE 10, 2020

Boston, Mass. Placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) occurs when the placenta attaches too deeply in the uterine wall. Most common in women who have had a cesarean delivery, PAS can cause dangerous complications during childbirth, including severe blood loss after delivery. While an important part of diagnosing PAS is examining the placenta during delivery, there has not previously been an agreed upon pathologic definition for PAS.

Under the leadership of Jonathan Hecht, MD, Director of Gynecology pathology and Director of Placental Pathology at the New England Center for Placental Disorders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an international panel of experts were convened to create common technical language for pathologists and obstetricians that describe anatomic aspects of PAS, including the extent and location of abnormal placental invasion in the uterus or damage to surrounding organs. The new criteria and guidelines put forth by the panel are published in Modern Pathology.

“By operationalizing this system, communications between care teams, community hospitals and specialty centers will improve,” said Hecht. “The templated report will also help to gather data for future research for alternative surgical techniques or early diagnosis.”

“While placental disorders are rare, they require the coordination of many subspecialists,” said Scott Shainker, DO, Director of the Center and a member on the panel. “These tools will provide effective communication among multidisciplinary care teams to ensure both mothers and babies are safe throughout pregnancy and delivery.”

For more information about the New England Center for Placental Disorders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, please visit

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 36,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.