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Fetal lung lesions: can we start to breathe easier?

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to develop a simple and accurate approach for risk stratification of fetal lung lesions that are associated with respiratory compromise at birth.

STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective review of 64 prenatal lung lesions that were managed at a single fetal care referral center (2001-2011). Sonographic data were analyzed and correlated with perinatal outcomes.

RESULTS: Hydrops occurred in only 4 cases (6.3%). Among fetuses without hydrops, the congenital pulmonary airway malformation volume ratio (CVR) was the only variable that was associated significantly with respiratory compromise and the need for lung resection at birth (P < .01). Based on a maximum CVR >1.0, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for respiratory morbidity were 90%, 93%, 75%, and 98%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Nonhydropic fetuses with a maximum CVR >1.0 are a subgroup of patients who are at increased risk for respiratory morbidity and the need for surgical intervention. These patients should be delivered at a tertiary care center with pediatric surgery expertise to ensure optimal clinical outcomes.

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