December 27, 2022
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is characterized by defects in the fetal diaphragm and thoracic herniation of the abdominal viscera. The ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure is used to establish the fetal airway while on placental support. These EXIT procedures are commonly performed under general anesthesia, which increases maternal bleeding and the risk of insufficient placental perfusion subse- quently. This study investigated the feasibility of performing neuraxial anesthesia for the EXIT procedure for fetal congenital diaphragmatic hernia to improve outcomes.
Parturients with fetal CDH who underwent an EXIT procedure between January 2019 and May 2021 in our institution were recruited. Variables evaluated included gestational age, surgical time, intra‐operative blood loss, peri‐operative hemoglobin, maternal complications, fetal lung‐to‐head ratio, time on placental bypass, and postnatal outcome.
Twenty‐two cases were included. All procedures were performed under neuraxial anesthesia. The med- ian gestational age at the time of the EXIT procedure was 37 weeks. The median estimated blood loss was 200 mL. There was no report of an adverse maternal event. The placental bypass time was 142.9 ± 72.6 s, and access to the airway was successfully established within the bypass time. Twenty‐one neonates reached an Apgar score of 9 at 5 min. In the first two hours after birth, the average pH of neonatal peripheral arterial blood was 7.35 ± 0.07 (n=19), and lactate level 1.85 ± 0.71 mmol/L (n=19).
Conclusions: In the EXIT procedure to establish an airway for fetal CDH, neuraxial anesthesia proved a feasible technique for maternal anesthesia.