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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574


STEWART, C J M et al. Fetal intervention (EXIT procedure) for a rare fetal abnormality in a public sector hospital in South Africa - exploring what is possible. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2022, vol.112, n.10, pp.791-794. ISSN 2078-5135.

Congenital high airway obstruction syndrome (CHAOS) is a rare condition that can be diagnosed antenatally by ultrasound. It is usually lethal without immediate intervention at delivery. A 24-year-old woman was diagnosed with fetal CHAOS at 27 weeks' gestation. The couple declined termination of pregnancy. A multidisciplinary team including obstetricians, geneticists, paediatric surgeons, neonatologists and anaesthetists was constituted to plan an ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure. After several simulations, a caesarean section was performed at 38 weeks' gestation under deep inhalational anaesthesia. The fetus was fully delivered with placenta remaining in utero to maintain perfusion. A surgical airway was established via tracheostomy in approximately 5 minutes. The operation was then completed with no maternal complications. The child remains well at 3 years of age. To our knowledge, this is the first EXIT procedure performed for CHAOS in the public sector. This procedure can be lifesaving and is possible with proper planning.

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