The Delivery Room Resuscitation of Infants with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Treated with Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion: Beyond the Balloon

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2024;51(2):184-190. doi: 10.1159/000536209. Epub 2024 Jan 10.


Introduction: Randomized controlled trials found that fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO) resulted in increased fetal lung volume and improved survival for infants with isolated, severe left-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). The delivery room resuscitation of these infants is particularly unique, and the specific delivery room events are largely unknown. The objective of this study was to compare the delivery room resuscitation of infants treated with FETO to standard of care (SOC) and describe lessons learned.

Methods: Retrospective single-center cohort study of infants treated with FETO compared to infants who met FETO criteria during the same period but who received SOC.

Results: FETO infants were more likely to be born prematurely with 8/12 infants born <35 weeks gestational age compared to 3/35 SOC infants. There were 5 infants who required emergent balloon removal (2 ex utero intrapartum treatment and 3 tracheoscopic removal on placental bypass with delayed cord clamping) and 7 with prenatal balloon removal. Surfactant was administered in 6/12 FETO (50%) infants compared to 2/35 (6%) in the SOC group. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation use was lower at 25% and survival was higher at 92% compared to 60% and 71% in the SOC infants, respectively.

Conclusion: The delivery room resuscitation of infants treated with FETO requires thoughtful preparation with an experienced multidisciplinary team. Given increased survival, FETO should be offered to infants with severe isolated left-sided CDH, but only in high-volume centers with the experience and capability of removing the balloon, emergently if needed. The neonatal clinical team must be skilled in managing the unique postnatal physiology inherent to FETO where effective interdisciplinary teamwork is essential. Empiric and immediate surfactant administration should be considered in all FETO infants to lavage thick airway secretions, particularly those delivered <48 h after balloon removal.

Keywords: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia; Fetoscopy; Neonatal outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Balloon Occlusion* / methods
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delivery Rooms
  • Female
  • Fetoscopy / methods
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Trachea / surgery


  • Surface-Active Agents