Neonatal Survival After Serial Amnioinfusions for Bilateral Renal Agenesis: The Renal Anhydramnios Fetal Therapy Trial

JAMA. 2023 Dec 5;330(21):2096-2105. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.21153.


Importance: Early anhydramnios during pregnancy, resulting from fetal bilateral renal agenesis, causes lethal pulmonary hypoplasia in neonates. Restoring amniotic fluid via serial amnioinfusions may promote lung development, enabling survival.

Objective: To assess neonatal outcomes of serial amnioinfusions initiated before 26 weeks' gestation to mitigate lethal pulmonary hypoplasia.

Design, setting, and participants: Prospective, nonrandomized clinical trial conducted at 9 US fetal therapy centers between December 2018 and July 2022. Outcomes are reported for 21 maternal-fetal pairs with confirmed anhydramnios due to isolated fetal bilateral renal agenesis without other identified congenital anomalies.

Exposure: Enrolled participants initiated ultrasound-guided percutaneous amnioinfusions of isotonic fluid before 26 weeks' gestation, with frequency of infusions individualized to maintain normal amniotic fluid levels for gestational age.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary end point was postnatal infant survival to 14 days of life or longer with dialysis access placement.

Results: The trial was stopped early based on an interim analysis of 18 maternal-fetal pairs given concern about neonatal morbidity and mortality beyond the primary end point despite demonstration of the efficacy of the intervention. There were 17 live births (94%), with a median gestational age at delivery of 32 weeks, 4 days (IQR, 32-34 weeks). All participants delivered prior to 37 weeks' gestation. The primary outcome was achieved in 14 (82%) of 17 live-born infants (95% CI, 44%-99%). Factors associated with survival to the primary outcome included a higher number of amnioinfusions (P = .01), gestational age greater than 32 weeks (P = .005), and higher birth weight (P = .03). Only 6 (35%) of the 17 neonates born alive survived to hospital discharge while receiving peritoneal dialysis at a median age of 24 weeks of life (range, 12-32 weeks).

Conclusions and relevance: Serial amnioinfusions mitigated lethal pulmonary hypoplasia but were associated with preterm delivery. The lower rate of survival to discharge highlights the additional mortality burden independent of lung function. Additional long-term data are needed to fully characterize the outcomes in surviving neonates and assess the morbidity and mortality burden.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT03101891.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / etiology
  • Fetal Diseases / mortality
  • Fetal Diseases / therapy
  • Fetal Therapies* / methods
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Parenteral / methods
  • Isotonic Solutions* / administration & dosage
  • Isotonic Solutions* / therapeutic use
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases* / complications
  • Kidney Diseases* / congenital
  • Kidney Diseases* / mortality
  • Kidney Diseases* / therapy
  • Lung Diseases* / congenital
  • Lung Diseases* / etiology
  • Lung Diseases* / mortality
  • Lung Diseases* / therapy
  • Oligohydramnios* / etiology
  • Oligohydramnios* / mortality
  • Oligohydramnios* / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Premature Birth / etiology
  • Premature Birth / mortality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional


  • Isotonic Solutions

Supplementary concepts

  • Hereditary renal agenesis
  • Lung agenesis

Associated data