Fetoscopic and open transumbilical fetal cardiac catheterization in sheep. Potential approaches for human fetal cardiac intervention.
BACKGROUND: Shortening the prenatal disease course of severe aortic and pulmonary stenoses by balloon valvuloplasty may diminish their postnatal expression. The purpose of this study in fetal sheep was to assess the feasibility of fetoscopic and open transumbilical fetal cardiac catheterization guided by fetal transesophageal echocardiography to provide alternative approaches for human fetal cardiac intervention. METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied a total of nine fetal sheep (95 to 103 days of gestation; term = 145 to 150 days) and performed transumbilical fetal cardiac catheterization by a minimally invasive fetoscopic (n = 6) or an open fetal surgical approach (n = 3). Monitored by fetal transesophageal echocardiography, with an 8F or 10F, 10-MHz intravascular ultrasound catheter we placed guidewires and interventional catheters via the umbilical arterial route into the fetal heart. In three of the fetuses, we created supravalvar pulmonary artery stenosis by open fetal cardiac surgery After fetal and maternal recovery, we exteriorized these fetuses and performed open transumbilical fetal cardiac catheterization with successful pulmonary arterial angioplasty in two. Three fetuses survived fetoscopic transumbilical catheterization for 1 or 2 days and died most likely of blood loss after sheath dislodgment (n = 1) or removal (n = 2). By securing the sheath insertion site with a suture, we prevented sheath dislodgment and minimized bleeding during sheath removal in three fetuses. These fetuses then survived fetoscopic transumbilical fetal cardiac catheterization for 1 to 2 weeks before being killed. CONCLUSIONS: This study in fetal sheep demonstrates that fetoscopic and open transumbilical fetal cardiac catheterization are feasible and, guided by fetal transesophageal echocardiography, provide potential alternative approaches for human fetal cardiac intervention.
Kohl, T; Szabo, Z; Suda, K; Petrossian, E; Ko, E; Kececioglu, D; Moore, P; Silverman, NH; Harrison, MR; Chou, TM; Hanley, FL
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