Jugular vein hypoplasia can preclude extracorporeal membrane oxygenation cannulation in the neonate with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: potential identification of the neonate at risk by fetal magnetic resonance imaging

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2011;30(3):225-8. doi: 10.1159/000330783. Epub 2011 Sep 28.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used routinely in many fetal care centers for the evaluation of the fetus with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). Current MRI strategies focus on identifying the type of hernia and its contents, as well as calculating fetal lung volumes, in order to plan appropriately for neonatal support, including the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Single-shot fast spin-echo T(2)-weighted sequences are fundamental, with additional sequences used variably as indicated. We report the case of a fetus with CDH in whom ECMO cannulation was attempted as a neonate but was unsuccessful because of variant anatomy of the internal jugular vein. A retrospective review of gradient echo sequences obtained through the fetal neck and chest showed the abnormality could have been anticipated. During multidisciplinary assessment of the fetus with CDH, consideration should be given to imaging evaluation of the neck to evaluate the cervical vascular anatomy, particularly in cases with poorer prognosis in whom it is anticipated that neonatal ECMO may be an option.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology
  • Fetal Diseases / therapy*
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / diagnosis
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / pathology
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jugular Veins / abnormalities*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment