In-utero Pulmonary Drainage in the Management of Primary Hydrothorax and Congenital Cystic Lung Lesion: A Systematic Review

EM Knox, Mark Kilby, William Martin, Khalid Khan

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the effect of in-utero pulmonary drainage on perinatal survival in fetuses with primary hydrothoraces and/or congenital cystic lung lesions. Methods: Relevant papers were identified by searching MEDLINE (1966-2004), EMBASE (1988-2004) and the Cochrane Library (2004 issue 2). Studies were selected if the effect of prenatal pulmonary drainage (shunt, surgery or drainage) on perinatal survival was compared with no treatment, in fetuses with ultrasonic evidence of lung pathology. Study selection, quality assessment and data abstraction were performed independently and in duplicate. Results: Of a total number of 7958 articles, there were 16 controlled observational studies involving 608 fetuses. Study characteristics and quality were recorded for each study. Data were abstracted to generate 2 x 2 tables to compare the effect of pulmonary drainage vs. no drainage on perinatal survival. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) were used as summary measures of effect and the results were stratified according to predicted fetal prognoses. Pulmonary drainage did not improve perinatal survival in cystic lung lesions compared with no drainage (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.32-0.97, P = 0.04) overall. However there was a marked improvement with this therapy in a subgroup of fetuses with fetal hydrops fetalis (OR 19.28, 95% CI 3.67-101.27, P = 0.0005) but not in the subgroup uncomplicated by fetal hydrops fetalis (OR 0.04, 95% CI 0.01-0.32, P = 0.002). Conclusion: Percutaneous, in-utero pulmonary drainage in fetuses with ultrasonic evidence of congenital pulmonary cystic malformations was associated with improved perinatal survival among fetuses with hydrops fetalis and therefore poor predicted survival. Copyright (c) 2006 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-34
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006


  • congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung
  • fetal therapy
  • pulmonary sequestration
  • shunt
  • hydrops
  • fetal hydrothorax
  • thoracocentesis


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