Fetal Hydrothorax is a condition when there is an abnormal amount of fluid in the chest of the fetus. This fluid could be presented in the space between the chest walls and the lungs of the baby or it could be presented within the chest masses or the core of the lung.
Fetal hydrothorax is also known as pleural effusion. The space between the chest is enclosed and if there is an abnormal amount of presence of fluid in this area then this could lead to compression of the lungs or it could also lead to heart displacement.
Because of the compression in the lungs, the normal developments of the baby in the womb could be interfered with.
This condition is dangerous because it does not allow sufficient quantities of oxygen intake for the baby. When this happens it is known as pulmonary hypoplasia.
When the condition of fetal hydrothorax causes a movement in the heart of the baby then this is known as mediastinal shift.
This causes trouble for the fetus to receive and pump blood and this could lead to heart failure.
Fetal hydrous is a severe condition where the fluid gets accumulated into other parts of the body of the fetus.
How is fetal hydrothorax diagnosed?
A routine ultrasound can help the doctor to detect the condition of fetal hydrothorax. If a condition is detected then the mother would be referred to a specialist that does a fetal echocardiogram test to decide how severe the condition is.
Treatment for fetal hydrothorax
If fetal hydrothorax is severe then it could lead to lung failure or a cardiac dysfunction. In the case of fetal hydrothorax, the following ways would be done by the doctor.
- Fetal thoracentesis is a procedure where a small needle is inserted into the fetus chest and the fluid is drained out.
This test also lets the doctor check the amniotic fluid which is tested along with the fluid in the chest to know what could be the reason for this condition to develop.
- Thoracoamniotic shunting is where the doctor will insert a pigtail catheter, which is a small plastic tube, into the chest of the fetus. This lets the fluid drain into the amniotic cavity of the uterus. This method helps to prevent the baby from developing a condition of having underdeveloped lungs and it gives relief from hydrothorax.
Thoracentesis is a simpler procedure of the two and this should be the first treatment recommended to treat fetal hydrothorax.
Fetal hydrothorax is not common but the mortality rate associated with it is high. The treatment rules are invasive and there are also some risks involved with the ways.
An ultrasound is required to diagnose the condition and this is followed by a fetal echocardiogram that helps to decide the amount of fluid present and its ill effects.
The treatment after the finding will be discussed with the mother which will vary on a case to case basis based on how severe the condition is and which method is the best suited for both the mother and the child.
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