Invasive Procedures

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Invasive Procedures

1. Amniocentesis

Is performed after 15 weeks. Its main purpose is to obtain amniotic fluid. This is used to culture fetal cells and determine the fetal karyotype or on occasion look for signs of infection.

2. Chorionic villous sampling

Is performed usually between 11-14 weeks of gestation. It involves obtaining a small sample from the placenta that again can be used to determine the fetal karyotype.

3. Thoracocentesis

This involves draining in utero a fetal pleural effusion (collection of fluid in the baby’s chest). This can help alleviate the pressure to the fetal lungs and allow them to develop.

4. Vesicocentesis/drainage

This procedure involves putting a drain in the fetal bladder and allows the baby to pass urine in cases of bladder obstruction. This condition left untreated is lethal as it leads to renal failure and pulmonary hypoplasia. Although there is heated scientific debate regarding the long term outcome in cases where termination is not an option, treatment attempts may be appropriate for some families.

5. Amnioreduction

This procedure can be very useful in cases of excessive amniotic fluid. Up to 2lit of amniotic fluid can be removed each time reducing maternal discomfort and the risk of preterm labour.

6. Intraperitoneal transfusion

In cases of severe Rh isoimmunisation treatment can be started early in the second trimester with a series of transfusions where small amounts of blood are given directly in the fetal peritoneal cavity.

7. Fetal blood sampling/transfusion

Fetal anemia is one of the few conditions that can be treated successfully in utero, Blood can be given directly to the baby’s umbilical cord and can allow in that way the baby to mature and be delivered in a good condition dramatically improving its postnatal recovery.

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