Objectives: To examine operative and perinatal aspects of fetal endoscopic tracheal occlusion (FETO) in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).
Methods: This was a multicenter study of singleton pregnancies with CDH treated by FETO. The entry criteria for FETO were severe CDH on the basis of sonographic evidence of intrathoracic herniation of the liver and low lung area to head circumference ratio (LHR) defined as the observed to the expected normal mean for gestation (o/e LHR) equivalent to an LHR of 1 or less.
Results: FETO was carried out in 210 cases, including 175 cases with left-sided, 34 right-sided and one with bilateral CDH. In 188 cases the CDH was isolated and in 22 there was an associated defect. FETO was performed at a median gestational age of 27.1 (range, 23.0-33.3) weeks. The first eight cases were done under general anesthesia, but subsequently either regional or local anesthesia was used. The median duration of FETO was 10 (range, 3-93) min. Successful placement of the balloon at the first procedure was achieved in 203 (96.7%) cases. Spontaneous preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) occurred in 99 (47.1%) cases at 3-83 (median, 30) days after FETO and within 3 weeks of the procedure in 35 (16.7%) cases. Removal of the balloon was prenatal either by fetoscopy or ultrasound-guided puncture, intrapartum by ex-utero intrapartum treatment, or postnatal either by tracheoscopy or percutaneous puncture. Delivery was at 25.7-41.0 (median, 35.3) weeks and before 34 weeks in 65 (30.9%) cases. In 204 (97.1%) cases the babies were live born and 98 (48.0%) were discharged from the hospital alive. There were 10 deaths directly related to difficulties with removal of the balloon. Significant prediction of survival was provided by the o/e LHR and gestational age at delivery. On the basis of the relationship between survival and o/e LHR in expectantly managed fetuses with CDH, as reported in the antenatal CDH registry, we estimated that in fetuses with left CDH treated with FETO the survival rate increased from 24.1% to 49.1%, and in right CDH survival increased from 0% to 35.3% (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: FETO in severe CDH is associated with a high incidence of PPROM and preterm delivery but a substantial improvement in survival.