Fetal stabilization for antenatally diagnosed diaphragmatic hernia

Sachiyo Suita, Tomoaki Taguchi, Takeshi Yamanouchi, Kouji Masumoto, Keiko Ogita, Masatoshi Nakamura, Hideki Nakayama, Toshiro Hara, Kiyomi Tsukimori, Hitoo Nakano, Tomoo Kanna, Shousuke Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Purpose: Infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia have pulmonary hypoplasia resulting in persistent pulmonary hypertension of neonates (PPHN), which is the main contributor to both high mortality and morbidity. The pulmonary artery bed in patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is underdeveloped and is very sensitive to slight stimuli. It is, therefore, vital to avoid any factors that might increase pulmonary vascular resistance during the perinatal treatment of these patients. Recently, fetal anesthesia for perinatal stabilization in patients with CDH has been reported. However, the efficacy of this method remains controversial. The aim of this study is to analyze the benefits of fetal stabilization using fetal anesthesia in patients with CDH. Methods: The authors have seen 9 cases of antenatally diagnosed CDH and attempted fetal stabilization. The indication for fetal stabilization was a lung thoracic ratio of less than 0.2, without any severe associated anomalies. The protocol for fetal stabilization was (1) monitoring the fetal respiratory movement and heart beat by ultrasonography, (2) the administration of morphine (20 to 30 mg) and diazepam (5 mg) to the mother, (3) the confirmation of any interruptions in fetal movement followed by a cesarean section, (4) pancuronimum (0.5 mg) was given through the umbilical vessels, (5) intubation before clamping of the umbilical cord, and (6) high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFO) without bagging. Results: The lung-thratic ratio (LTR) was between 0.06 to 0.17 (average, 0.10 ± 0.04). Operation was performed in 7 of 9 patients at between 2.5 and 27 hours after birth. The overall survival rate was 66.7% (6 of 9). All of the patients who underwent operation within 5 hours after birth survived. Conclusions: Perinatal stabilization using fetal anesthesia was found to be effective in preventing PPHN and shortening the period of preoperative stabilization. It also improved the survival rate of patients with severe CDH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1652-1657
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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