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Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology


An improving ability to diagnose fetal conditions with higher accuracy prompts an attempt for a salvage treatment in utero. Fetal conditions amendable for prenatal intervention are limited to only diseases that can either kill the baby in utero or leave the baby with significant handicap. Therapeutic intervention has to be highly selective. Factors that need to be considered before offering in utero treatment include the highly investigative nature of certain procedures. For instance, at the time of writing this paper, fetal endoluminal tracheal occlusion for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia is still under a randomized controlled investigational trial to validate its potential benefits and risks to the fetus with severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia with suboptimal growth of the residual lung tissue. There are chances of procedure-related miscarriages, preterm premature rupture of the membranes, and maternal morbidity that need to be discussed in an unbiased counseling session. The right balance between potential benefits and harms requires validation with rigid scientific methodology before the practice has become a “standard of care.” For example, laser photocoagulation of anastomosing chorionic vessels has become a standard of care in many places due to its superior perinatal survival and composite outcomes, particularly for the childhood neurodevelopmental status. With an ongoing technological development, it is foreseeable that there will be more proposals of implementing novel medical technologies to the use of fetal therapy. Currently, there are only a handful of fetal care centers, and most of the experienced ones are clustered in developed part of Europe and the USA. Dissemination of this type of service which requires years of experiences to develop surgical skill and the support by the most technological advanced instrument and setting is a real challenge that need to be addressed, discussed, and solved as a global agenda.

Keywords: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia, Fetal therapy, Fetoscopy, Fetal tracheal occlusion, Lower urinary tract obstruction, Myelomeningocele, Open surgery, Shunting, Twin-twin transfusion syndrome.

How to cite this article: Wataganara T, Phithakwatchara N, Nawapun K. Overview of Fetal Therapy. Donald School J Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2016;10(4):387-392.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None

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