Frequency and Prognosis of Hydrops Fetalis: A 10-Year Single-Center Experience

Sisli Etfal Hastan Tip Bul. 2021 Sep 24;55(3):366-373. doi: 10.14744/SEMB.2021.65632. eCollection 2021.


Objective: The study aims to evaluate the etiological distribution and prognosis of newborn infants with hydrops fetalis (HF).

Methods: All infants born in our hospital within the past 10 years and hospitalized with the diagnosis of HF were included in this retrospective descriptive study. Demographic characteristics, etiological distributions, treatment interventions, and prognosis information of the infants were recorded retrospectively. Infants with incomplete data were excluded from the study.

Results: The mean gestational age of infants with HF was 33.6±3.1 weeks, and the mean birth weight was 2444±792 grams. Of the HF cases, 90.5% were born by cesarean section and the prenatal diagnosis rate was 42.9%. About 57.1% of the infants were intubated during resuscitation at birth in the delivery room. In the NICU, 81% of the cases were intubated and 71.4% received surfactant treatment. The most common HF findings were ascites (81%) and subcutaneous edema (81%). The most common interventional procedures were paracentesis (81%) and thoracentesis (52.4%). Exchange transfusion was performed in 2 cases (9.5%) due to immune HF. The mortality rate in the study group was 52.4%. Considering the etiological distribution of HF cases in the study group, three cases were diagnosed with immune HF (14.3%) and 18 cases with non-immune hydrops fetalis (NIHF) (85.7%). The underlying cause in immune HF cases was rhesus incompatibility. In cases with NIHF, idiopathic (23.8%) and cardiovascular diseases were the most common etiologies. A significant relationship was found between delivery room management and mortality. While the need for intubation in delivery room was significantly higher in non-survivors, the frequency of applying only positive pressure ventilation in the delivery room was significantly higher in survivors. While the rate of survival was 66.7% in immune HF cases, it was 44.4% in NIHF cases.

Conclusion: The risk of perinatal mortality in infants with HF is high depending on the underlying cause. In this study, it was determined that HF mostly developed for non-immune reasons, prenatal diagnosis and follow-up were insufficient and the interventions performed in the delivery room were an important factor in predicting mortality in the follow-up of neonates with HF.

Keywords: Edema; Hydrops fetalis; mortality; newborn; prognosis.