Left ventricular cardiac function in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia and the effect of fetal endoscopic tracheal occlusion

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The pre-existing compression of the left ventricle in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) could be aggravated by the amplified lung growth after fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO). Our aim was to document left ventricular (LV) size and function in fetuses with isolated left-sided CDH and to document the effect of FETO on the fetal heart.


We determined cardiac axis, LV diameters, ejection fraction, shortening fraction, mitral E/A index and myocardial performance index (MPI) in 27 fetuses with isolated left-sided CDH, and compared these with values in a reference population (n = 117). In fetuses with severe CDH that subsequently underwent FETO and/or reversal of occlusion, additional measurements were obtained 24 h before and after each fetal intervention. We recorded fetal electrocardiograms non-invasively in six CDH fetuses and compared the duration of the QRS complex with data obtained from 12 controls.


LV end-diastolic diameter was 32% smaller in CDH fetuses than in controls (P < 0.0001) but LV function was comparable. QRS duration was no different between CDH and control fetuses. FETO did not affect cardiac size but reduced the MPI (P = 0.004). Reversal of FETO had no significant effect on cardiac size and function.


CDH fetuses have a smaller left ventricle than do healthy fetuses. There is no overall adverse impact of CDH and FETO on LV cardiac function. Copyright © 2009 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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