Prenatal diagnosis of congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation and its postnatal presentation, surgical indications, and natural history

J Pediatr Surg. 1999 May;34(5):794-8; discussion 798-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(99)90375-5.


Background/purpose: Regression of a cystic adenomatoid malformation (CAM) in a fetus is well described. Little, however, is known about the postnatal course of these infants. This study attempts to correlate the prenatal course of CAMs with postnatal symptoms, radiological manifestations, and need for surgery.

Methods: The clinical course of patients with a CAM diagnosed prenatally were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion in the study required a prenatal ultrasound scan documenting a CAM.

Results: Over 10 years, 14 patients with a CAM were diagnosed prenatally. Six (43%) showed a partial in utero regression. Four patients were symptomatic at birth and underwent a resection as newborns. Ten patients were asymptomatic at birth, and eight of these had normal chest x-rays. Elective resection has been performed in 3 of these 10, and two additional children are scheduled to undergo an excision near 1 year of age. The remaining five patients have undergone follow-up nonoperatively for a mean of 36 +/- 15 months. Of the seven asymptomatic patients not undergoing immediate surgery, only one has shown a slight postnatal regression, despite five of these showing regression in utero. None have become symptomatic.

Conclusions: The results suggest that regression of a CAM on prenatal ultrasound scan is common, but this process does not continue after birth. A normal chest x-ray does not indicate complete regression of a CAM; a computed tomography (CT) scan is required to evaluate such patients, and will generally demonstrate a CAM. Asymptomatic patients with a CAM may be followed up nonoperatively with no apparent adverse effects. The decision and timing of an excision in an asymptomatic patient remains controversial among pediatric surgeons.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation of Lung, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation of Lung, Congenital / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*