Although open fetal surgery is infrequently required and has not proven to benefit neonatal outcomes in many cases, surgical intervention has maintained a very important role in Ex-Utero Intrapartum Therapy (EXIT). At St. Louis Children’s Hospital, our surgical focus is on less invasive approaches to managing fetal conditions and highly coordinated postnatal care.
In the case of a baby whose airway is in question following delivery, surgeons at St. Louis Children’s Hospital can conduct an EXIT procedure, which allows surgeons to access a baby’s head and neck from the womb while maintaining placental flow through the mother. This gives surgeons time to establish an airway or transition a baby to a heart-lung machine to take over circulation and respirations while still in the womb. This procedure has proven successful in cases that were diagnosed prenatally to have severe cardiac issues, neck masses, premature lungs or conditions where there are known respiratory problems that could place a baby in jeopardy.
In EXIT procedures, a different approach to anesthesia is required and the role of the pediatric anesthesiologist is critical. St. Louis Children’s Hospital has one of the strongest pediatric anesthesia departments in the country, with board-certified pediatric anesthesia specialists trained to provide the complex sedation requirements for mothers and babies during these procedures.
Meet the Rouse Twins and watch the EXIT procedure physicians used to safely deliver both boys.
For more information about the EXIT procedure and fetal surgery options, please contact us at 866.867.3627.