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BJOG. 2008 Mar;115(4):528-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01639.x.

Intracardiac injection of potassium chloride as method for feticide: experience from a single UK tertiary centre.

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Centre for Fetal Care, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Imperial College, London, UK.


We report our experience with intracardiac administration of potassium chloride as safe and effective method for late termination of pregnancy (TOP) and to document the indications for feticide in a major tertiary unit. During the study period (January 2000 and December 2005), 239 late terminations of pregnancy were performed at a median gestational age of 22(+6) weeks (range 20(+6) to 36(+3) weeks). The most frequent indication was represented by aneuploidy (24.3%), followed by brain abnormalities (17.6%). Maternal indications were responsible for 2.9% of the total number of terminations. No maternal complications occurred and complete asystole was achieved in all cases with a median volume of potassium chloride of 4.7 ml (range 2-10 ml). Potassium chloride injected directly in the left ventricle induces immediate asystole, and it is a safe and effective method of TOP. Interestingly, despite the widespread introduction of aneuploidy screening, chromosomal abnormalities, particularly trisomy 21, still represent the major indication for late TOP.

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