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J Pediatr Surg. 2006 Aug;41(8):1403-6.

Current outcome of antenatally diagnosed exomphalos: an 11 year review.

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  • 1Harris Birthright Centre for Fetal Research, King's College Hospital, SE5 9RS London, UK.



The aim of this study was to determine the outcome of antenatally diagnosed exomphalos.


The database of a tertiary referral Fetal Medicine Centre was searched for all cases of antenatally diagnosed exomphalos between January 1991 and December 2002. Patients, general practitioners, and hospitals were contacted for outcome details.


In total, 445 cases of exomphalos were identified. In 250 (56%) cases, the fetal karyotype was abnormal (group A), in 135 (30%) cases, the karyotype was normal (group B), and in 60 (14%) cases, karyotyping was declined (group C). In group A, there were 248 (99%) terminations of pregnancy (TOP) or fetal deaths and 2 live births. In group B, 74 (54%) fetuses had other structural anomalies; 82 (61%) pregnancies resulted in TOP or fetal death, 42 (31%) in live births, and 11 (8%) were lost to follow-up. In group C, 38 (63%) fetuses had other structural anomalies; 41 (69%) pregnancies resulted in TOP or fetal death, 11 (18%) in live births, and 8 (13%) were lost to follow-up. Of the 55 live births, 11 died preoperatively and 44 had surgery. There were no postoperative deaths.


Less than 10% of the antenatal diagnostic workload reached operative repair. In our unit, these babies are a highly selected group, which is a factor in the high postoperative survival.

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