The aim of this study was to check whether echocardiography is useful in patients with thoracic anomalies undergoing an invasive therapy in utero.
Material and Methods: Retrospective analysis of 42 pregnant women and their fetuses (2003 - 2012), which, due to the chest anomalies had genetic ultrasound and ECHO and then were subjected to an invasive intrauterine therapy.
Results: The mean maternal age was 30.2 years, there were 18 high risk pregnancies and 24 low-risk pregnancies, the average gestational age at diagnosis was 28.2 wks (17 - 38), the average week of delivery was 35 wks (24 - 41), the average birth weight was 2700g (700 - 4050g). The average number of fetuses with chest anomalies undergoing therapy in utero in our center was 4.2 per year. The most common anomaly was hydrothorax, then CALM and DH and one case of AS. Anomalies coexisted with generalized edema, ascites and/or polyhydramnios. Most often shunts and/or decompression of pleural fluid and / or abdominal cavity were performed. Structural heart defects occurred in 6 fetuses and functional anomalies in echocardiography were recorded in 29 fetuses (73%).
Selected group of 19 fetuses had echocardiography before and after surgery. In 14 fetuses hemodynamic improvement was observed and in 5 patients fetal functional changes have persisted. The time from the last treatment to the delivery averaged was 40,2 days (2 to 140).
The follow-up was analyzed in a group of 37 fetuses: there were 2 intrauterine deaths, 11 deaths after delivery and 24 infants were discharged home. Mean hospitalization duration of the live-born infants was 23.7 days (1 - 70). Hospitalization of 14 neonates with hemodynamic improvement after surgery was 25.5 days and in a group of five fetuses with no improvement after surgery, was mean 45.6 days.
Conclusions: The number of fetuses undergoing an invasive therapy due to anomalies of the chest during 2003 - 2012 remained at a similar level (an average of approximately 4 patients per year). Thoracic defects were often accompanied by functional anomalies in the circulatory system. Majority (73%) of fetuses had shown a significant improvement in cardiac efficiency after an invasive treatment. In the group of fetuses in which the interventional procedure has improved cardiovascular hemodynamics, average duration of hospitalization was shorter as compared to the group without haemodynamic improvement (25,5 days versus 45,6), however there was no statistically significant difference.