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Fetal Cystoscopy and Vesicoamniotic Shunting in Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction: Long-Term Outcome and Current Technical Limitations.

BACKGROUND: In utero therapeutic approaches for lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO) have been developed to salvage the fetal kidney function.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this work was to report the long-term survival, nephrological, and urological outcome of children treated prenatally for LUTO using operative fetal cystoscopy (FC) and vesicoamniotic shunting (VAS) or both.

METHODS: A retrospective study of 48 procedures (23 FC, 25 VAS) was performed on 33 patients (between 2008 and 2018). Reviewed data included prenatal management and clinical follow-up by a pediatric nephrologist and a pediatric urologist. Both intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were conducted.

RESULTS: The median follow-up was 3.6 years (0.5-7) for FC and 2.5 years (1.1-5.1) for VAS. There was no difference between FC and VAS in terms of survival (92 vs. 83%, p = 1), complication rate (74 vs. 92%, p = 0.88), or chronic kidney disease (58 vs. 50%, p = 1). The number of procedures was higher in the VAS group: 1.7 (1-3) versus 1.1 (1-2), p = 0.01. With a 30% rate of technical failure, FC added diagnostic value in 3 out of 21 cases.

CONCLUSIONS: No difference was found between FC and VAS regarding survival, long-term kidney function, or urological outcome. Despite overly optimistic reports on FC, it lacks reproducibility due to posterior-urethra inadequate visualization and inappropriate instrumentation.

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