To assess feasibility and maternal and infant outcome after fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion in patients with severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
We conducted a prospective cohort study of fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia and observed/expected lung/head ratio less than 30%. Eligible women had planned fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion at 26 0/7–29 6/7 weeks of gestation and balloon removal 4–6 weeks later. Standardized prenatal and postnatal care was at a single institution. Fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion details, lung growth, obstetric complications, birth outcome, and infant outcome details until discharge were evaluated.
Of 57 women screened, 14 (25%) were enrolled between 2015 and 2019. The congenital diaphragmatic hernia was left in 12 (86%); the pre–fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion observed/expected lung/head ratio was 23.2% (range 15.8–29.0%). At a median gestational age of 28 5/7 weeks (range 27 3/7–29 6/7), fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion was successful in all cases, and balloons remained in situ. Removal was elective in 10 (71%) patients, by ultrasound-guided needle puncture in eight (57%), and occurred at a median of 33 4/7 weeks of gestation (range 32 1/7–34 4/7; median occlusion 34 days, range 17–44). The post–fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion observed/expected lung/head ratio increased to a median of 62.8% (44.0–108) and fell to a median of 46.6% (range 30–92) after balloon removal (all Mann Whitney U, P
<.003). For prevention of preterm birth, all patients received vaginal progesterone; 11 (79%) required additional tocolytics, three (21%) had vaginal pessary placement for cervical shortening, and five (36%) had amnioreduction for polyhydramnios. Median gestational age at birth was 39 2/7 weeks (range 33 6/7–39 4/7), with term birth in eight (57%) patients. Twelve (86%) neonates required high-frequency ventilation, and seven (50%) required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for a median of 7 days (range 3–19). All neonates needed patch repair. Neonatal survival was 93% (n=13, 95% CI 49–100%), and survival to hospital discharge was 86% (n=12, 95% CI 44–100%).
Fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia was feasible in our single-center setting, with few obstetric complications and favorable infant outcome.
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