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Global Policy and Practice for Intrauterine Fetal Resuscitation During Fetal Surgery for Open Spina Bifida Repair

  • Gallagher, Katie;
  • Crombag, Neeltje; 121732;
  • Prashar, Kavita;
  • Deprest, Jan; 31972;
  • Ourselin, Sebastien;
  • David, Anna L;
  • Marlow, Neil;
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2023
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IMPORTANCE: Globally accepted recommendations suggest that a woman should be between 19 weeks and 25 weeks plus 6 days of pregnancy to be considered eligible for fetal closure of open spina bifida. A fetus requiring emergency delivery during surgery is therefore potentially considered viable and thus eligible for resuscitation. There is little evidence, however, to support how this scenario is addressed in clinical practice. OBJECTIVE: To explore current policy and practice for fetal resuscitation during fetal surgery for open spina bifida in centers undertaking fetal surgery. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: An online survey was designed to identify current policies and practices in place to support fetal surgery for open spina bifida, exploring experiences and management of emergency fetal delivery and fetal death during surgery. The survey was emailed to 47 fetal surgery centers in 11 countries where fetal spina bifida repair is currently performed. These centers were identified through the literature, the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis center repository, and an internet search. Centers were contacted between January 15 and May 31, 2021. Individuals volunteered participation through choosing to complete the survey. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The survey comprised 33 questions of mixed multiple choice, option selection, and open-ended formats. Questions explored policy and practice supporting fetal and neonatal resuscitation during fetal surgery for open spina bifida. RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 28 of 47 centers (60%) in 11 countries. Twenty cases of fetal resuscitation during fetal surgery during the last 5 years were reported across 10 centers. Four cases of emergency delivery during fetal surgery after maternal and/or fetal complications during the last 5 years were reported across 3 centers. Fewer than half the 28 centers (n = 12 [43%]) had policies in place to support practice in the event of either imminent fetal death (during or after fetal surgery) or the need for emergency fetal delivery during fetal surgery. Twenty of 24 centers (83%) reported preoperative parental counseling on the potential need for fetal resuscitation prior to fetal surgery. The gestational age at which centers would attempt neonatal resuscitation after emergency delivery varied from 22 weeks and 0 days to more than 28 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: In this global survey study of 28 fetal surgical centers, there was no standard practice about how fetal resuscitation or subsequent neonatal resuscitation was managed during open spina bifida repair. Further collaboration between professionals and parents is required to ensure sharing of information to support knowledge development in this area. / status: published

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