Successful management of fetal hypoxia due to amniotic banding at 26 weeks of pregnancy: A case report of a rare survival

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2024 Jun:297:264-266. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2024.04.010. Epub 2024 Apr 14.


Background: Amniotic banding is a rare condition that can lead to structural limb anomalies, fetal distress and adverse obstetric outcomes. The main hypothesis for its etiology is a rupture of the amniotic membrane in early pregnancy, with the formation of tightly entangling strands around the fetus. These strands can constrict, incise, and subsequently amputate limb parts, the neck or head. More rarely, the amniotic banding can affect the umbilical cord, leading to fetal distress or potential intra-uterine fetal demise.

Objective: We present a unique case of a 26-week pregnant woman who attended a polyclinical consultation due to reduced fetal movements with concerning cardiotocography (CTG) findings. A review of the literature about amniotic banding of the umbilical cord was conducted as well, identifying diagnostic and interventional options for the obstetrician's practice.

Study design: This is a case report, alongside a review of the literature.

Results: The CTG indicated fetal distress, prompting an emergency caesarean section (C-section). Upon delivery, the neonate exhibited signs of amniotic band sequence, with distal phalangeal defects on the right hand and severe constriction of the umbilical cord caused by amniotic strands, the latter precipitating fetal hypoxia. Direct ultrasound diagnosis remains a challenge in the absence of limb amputation, yet indirect signs such as distal limb or umbilical doppler flow abnormalities and distal limb edema may be suggestive of amniotic banding. MRI is proposed as an adjuvant diagnostic tool yet does not present a higher detection rate compared to ultrasound. Fetoscopic surgery to perform lysis of the amniotic strands with favorable outcome has been described in literature.

Conclusion: This case presents the first reported survival of an extremely preterm fetus in hypoxic distress as a cause of amniotic banding of the umbilical cord, with a rare degree of incidental timing. Ultrasound diagnosis remains the gold standard. Obstetrical vigilance is warranted, with fetal rescue proven to be feasible.

Keywords: Amniotic banding; CTG; Emergency c-section; Fetal distress; Fetal hypoxia; Fetoscopy; Obstetric emergencies; Umbilical cord.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amniotic Band Syndrome* / surgery
  • Cardiotocography
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Female
  • Fetal Distress / etiology
  • Fetal Distress / surgery
  • Fetal Hypoxia* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Umbilical Cord / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Amniotic Band Sequence