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J Pediatr Surg. 2008 Oct;43(10):1767-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2008.04.033.

Fetal tracheal occlusion for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia in humans: a morphometric study of lung parenchyma and muscularization of pulmonary arterioles.

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  • 1The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4318, USA.



The aim of this study is to examine structure of lung parenchyma (Pp) and muscularization of pulmonary arterioles (PAs) in human fetuses that underwent tracheal occlusion (TO) therapy for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).


Fifteen fetuses underwent TO, with 5 survivors (Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000:183;1059-1066). Paraffin-embedded lung specimens from 7 of 10 nonsurvivors (CDH-TO) and 6 age-matched fetuses (CDH) were available for morphometric analysis, which included measurements of point fraction of lung Pp and surface density. The PAs were categorized according to external diameter (<70 microm and 70 <or= 140 microm). Percent medial wall thickness (%MWT) was calculated by dividing raw measurements of MWT by external diameter.


Gestational age at TO was 27.6 +/- 0.9 weeks with a mean duration of TO of 32.6 +/- 6.8 days. Gestational age at delivery (CDH-TO 31.9 +/- 0.9 vs CDH 35.4 +/- 1.8 weeks; P = .18) and postnatal survival time (CDH-TO 20.5 +/- 6.0 vs CDH 18.6 +/- 7.8 days; P = .85) were not significantly different between groups. Tracheal occlusion significantly increased the lung-to-body weight ratio (CDH-TO 13.0 +/- 2.2 vs CDH 6.6 +/- 0.9; P = .02). Tracheal occlusion tended to decrease right-lung Pp (CDH-TO 54.6% +/- 2.6% vs CDH 65.7% +/- 5.9%; P = .05), whereas left-lung Pp was not different between groups (CDH-TO 63.0% +/- 3.5% vs CDH 66.7% +/- 4.1%; P = .51). Surface density of airspaces was not different between groups in either left (CDH-TO 171.3 +/- 16.1 cm(-1) vs CDH 151.1 +/- 8.1 cm(-1); P = .34) or right (CDH-TO 172.0 +/- 10.6 cm(-1) vs CDH 160.8 +/- 3.6 cm(-1); P = .33) lungs. The %MWT in small and large PA was similar between groups.


Open prenatal TO in human fetuses increased lung growth, as evidenced by an increase in lung weight, but did not improve parenchymal structure or muscularization of PAs.

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