Some fetuses are apparently predicted to be born with a syndrome which may cause severely under developed hearts. To prevent this condition in becoming a full-blown disorder, a fetal heart surgery is supposedly recommended and it may also enhance heart growth and function.
Ultrasound images was apparently used by the experts at Children’s Hospital in Boston to supposedly recognize fetuses at high risk of developing hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a condition in which the left side of the heart is claimed to be extremely under developed. So the fetus is apparently left with only one pumping heart chamber and if this condition is not treated correctly, then it may be critical almost immediately after birth.
From 2000-08, based on the first 70 attempts at the prenatal intervention, about 67 percent of the fetuses apparently had a technically successful process and were apparently born at a feasible gestational age.
The left side of the heart was apparently developed and improved in those fetuses that went through the prenatal intervention but the same thing apparently cannot be said about others who did not undergo the surgery.
Doff B. McElhinney, M.D., lead author of the study and an associate in cardiology at Children’s Hospital of Boston, Mass, commented, “By intervening early, we hope to alter the course of heart function and growth before birth and lessen the severity of the defect. The surgery was typically performed between the 20th and 24th week of pregnancy; 77 percent of the fetuses were male (the syndrome occurs most often in males).”
McElhinney mentioned that the study was said to be extremely helpful in deciding which fetuses were not good applicants for the surgery.
McElhinney mentioned, “Based on our analysis, we discovered that fetuses with left heart size and function below certain levels at the time of intervention were very unlikely to achieve the intended result. This will allow us to offer the therapy more selectively and not expose mothers and fetuses to the obvious risk of intervention when there is no chance of helping the heart develop more normally.”
McElhinney added, “We will need more data on outcomes after birth. We hope to be successful by determining the most appropriate cases, which will enhance the risk/benefit profile of the intervention.”
Regardless of the insights supplied by this study, envisaging which fetal intervention may lead to improved left heart growth and the eventual postnatal survival remains a challenge and may need additional examination. This was as per McElhinney, who is apparently trailing patients in the study and is supposedly conducting the surgery on other fetuses.
This study was published in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.