Analysis of the stepwise clinical introduction of experimental percutaneous fetoscopic surgical techniques for upcoming minimally invasive fetal cardiac interventions.
ABSTRACT This study assessed the feasibility and safety of surgical techniques developed in sheep for fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions during three selected less complex procedures for noncardiac fetal conditions in humans. On the basis of this assessment, the implications for the clinical introduction of minimally invasive fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions in the near future are discussed.
The authors performed 16 percutaneous fetoscopic procedures in 13 human fetuses at between 19 + 2 and 34 + 6 weeks of gestation, then analyzed various parameters of surgical relevance for minimally invasive fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions. Each of the three noncardiac malformations posed typical surgical challenges that will be critical for the technical success of minimally invasive fetoscopic cardiac interventions.
Overall technical success was achieved in 14 of the 16 procedures. Percutaneous fetoscopic surgery did not result in any untoward effects and was well tolerated by all but two pregnant women: one with bleeding complication and one with mild postoperative pulmonary edema. No fetal complications or injuries from the various percutaneous fetoscopic surgical approaches were observed.
The author's experience with surgical techniques introduced for percutaneous fetoscopic fetal cardiac intervention in selected noncardiac fetal lesions has led them to believe the time has come for the clinical introduction of fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions. After an adequate learning curve supervised by committees of human research, the overall outcome and quality of postnatal life for the unborn patients ultimately will determine whether fetoscopic or other fetal cardiac interventions will be better therapeutic alternatives to currently available postnatal procedures.
- SourceAvailable from: Ulrich Gembruch[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Amniotic air insufflation during experimental fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions greatly improves the visualization of intra-amniotic contents. The purpose of this study was to assess any histologically discernible effects from this approach on the fetal brain after short-term studies and long-term survival in sheep. Thirty pregnant ewes between 80 and 110 days of gestation underwent amniotic air insufflation during various fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions. After 18 short-term and 12 long-term studies, the brains of the operated fetuses and-if available-their unoperated siblings were examined for hemorrhage, embolism, infarctions, inflammatory changes, and abnormal cortical maturation. Amniotic air insufflation during minimally invasive fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions did not result in any histologically discernible damage to the brain in short-term and long-term studies in any but 2 sibling sheep. In the 2 affected siblings, a small area of chronic cortical frontal lobe infarction was observed after long-term survival. Amniotic air insufflation during minimally invasive percutaneous fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions is safe for the fetal brain and does not compromise maternal hemodynamics in sheep. These findings encourage further investigation of the role this technique might play during fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions in humans.Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 10/2004; 128(3):467-71. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Sonographic detection of chorioamniotic membrane separation (CMS) has been considered a benign incidental finding. We now report 6 cases of CMS identified by prenatal ultrasound; 1 in an otherwise normal pregnancy and 5 following fetal surgery. Following membrane separation, amniotic bands formed and compromised the umbilical cord in 4 cases leading to 2 fetal deaths. In the first case, CMS was detected by ultrasound at 22 weeks' gestation in an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy. Because CMS was considered benign and umbilical cord blood flow was ample, the mother was followed by intermittent sonographic examinations. Fetal demise occurred 2 weeks later, clearly due to umbilical cord strangulation by an amniotic band. Surprised by this unexpected outcome, we reviewed our experience with CMS after hysterotomy for fetal surgery. Out of more than 40 fetal surgical cases, we have 5 cases in which CMS was recognized after hysterotomy. Three of these fetuses had umbilical cord compromise by a band of amniotic membrane leading to 1 fetal death. This experience demonstrates that membrane separation may be associated with amniotic band formation which can lead to cord strangulation and fetal compromise. Following fetal surgery, serial ultrasound evaluation and close fetal monitoring are indicated. In otherwise unremarkable pregnancies, clinician awareness of the possibility of amniotic band formation following CMS should be heightened. In either situation, knowledge of this potential life-threatening complication may identify cases in which cord compromise requires emergent delivery or fetoscopic release of the strangulating amniotic band.Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy 01/1997; 12(2):81-4. · 1.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent efforts to develop procedures for fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions have been prompted by the development of severe secondary damage to the fetal heart due to semilunar valvar obstructions and the poor outcome of therapy-refractory fetal arrhythmias. The purpose of our manuscript is to analyze and share our experience with the creation of an operative setup for these procedures in sheep. We studied a total of 48 fetal sheep between 81 and 106 days of gestation (term, 145 days). After entering the amniotic cavity by a percutaneous approach, we performed various fetoscopic fetal cardiac procedures. We analyzed the success of percutaneous fetal access, methods of trocar support, the incidence and management of trocar dislodgement or accidental insertion into the chorioamniotic space, problems related to amniotic insufflation and trocar placement, as well as techniques for fetal posturing and uterine closure. Percutaneous fetal access was achieved in all sheep. The use of resterilizable trocars substantially decreased the costs of our procedures. Utilizing a percutaneous transuterine purse-string suture for trocar support helped to minimize the number of nonabsorbable T-fasteners remaining inside the uterus postoperatively. As complications such as trocar dislodgement, insertion of the trocar into the chorioamniotic space, and problems with intraamniotic insufflation and gas loss were mastered, conversion to an open operative approach was never required. A novel strategy that we devised for percutaneous fetal posturing permitted adequate fetal posturing with ease and minimal trauma to the fetal skin. As operative techniques have become more refined, the feasibility of performing fetoscopic fetal cardiac interventions in human fetuses now depends mainly on technical improvements in imaging and interventional catheters, as well as advances in pacemaker equipment.Surgical Endoscopy 06/2000; 14(5):424-30. · 3.43 Impact Factor