Intrapartum airway management for giant fetal neck masses: the EXIT (ex utero intrapartum treatment) procedure

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Oct;177(4):870-4. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(97)70285-0.


Objective: Our goal was to review our experience with the EXIT (ex utero intrapartum treatment) procedure in the management of five cases with life-threatening fetal neck masses.

Study design: We present a retrospective review of prenatal presentation and course, diagnostic accuracy of imaging studies, intraoperative management, complications, and outcomes.

Results: Polyhydramnios was the initial presenting symptom in three of five fetuses with a mean gestational age of 25 +/- 6 weeks. Preterm labor occurred in two patients. Fetal magnetic resonance imaging provided accurate diagnosis in all four cases whereas conventional ultrasonography led to the diagnosis in four of five cases. The mean duration of EXIT was 28 +/- 22 minutes. The mean venous cord blood gas values were pH 7.22 +/- 0.05, PCO2 61 +/- 11 mm Hg, and PO2 42 +/- 8 mm Hg. In four of five cases an airway was successfully secured.

Conclusions: The EXIT procedure provides up to 1 hour of good uteroplacental support and is the procedure of choice to secure an airway in the fetus with a giant neck mass.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / surgery*
  • Gestational Age
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / complications
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Lymphangioma / complications
  • Lymphangioma / diagnosis
  • Lymphangioma / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Polyhydramnios / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Teratoma / complications
  • Teratoma / diagnosis
  • Teratoma / surgery*
  • Tracheostomy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal