Fetal Hydrothorax

 

When abnormal amounts of deoxygenated fluid form in the cavities of a fetal fetus it's known as Fetal Hydrothorax. This fluid can be inside the pleural cavity within the heart wall (parietal pleural cavity) or within or around the lung masses or the lungs. FETAL HYDRITHORAX can also be called a concomitant pleural effusion. It may even be associated with other chest conditions such as pleuritis, pericarditis, or cicatricial fissures.



The fetal hydrothorax is often measured with a high degree of accuracy using an ultrasound. It has the appearance of small pockets of air, resembling burps. The amount of gas in the pleural cavity varies depending on the pregnancy, being largest in early pregnancy and smallest at term. As a matter of fact, even the fetus itself can become enlarged in certain instances, especially when the liver produces excess bilirubin. This process is called hepatic portalugatio.

Occasionally, fetuses show no symptoms of fetal hydrothorax, sometimes they can disappear. But some cases of fetal hydrothorax have been associated with major complications. For example, fetuses with extensive pleural effusions have been observed to have abnormalities in pulmonary development and growth. They may show as early as 6 weeks of gestation, developing into jaundice in the latter part of the second trimester or even hypophosphatemia at birth. If this occurs, it can lead to the inadequate blood supply to the brain, leading to intellectual impairment.

Children of women diagnosed with fetal hydrothorax are often born prematurely. They have low birth weights and have a high risk of suffering from respiratory infections. Due to their very slow development, these infants also have lower IQs. Recent studies have also shown that the placenta can be damaged by high levels of pleural fluid, which can cause prematurity or stillborns. Babies born with pleural effusions may also have low serum albumin levels, indicative of chronic liver disease. Chronic liver disease may lead to decreased production of milk in lactating mothers.

While searching for information regarding fetal hydrothorax, one cannot help but be drawn to the popular website google scholar. The site provides several resources related to medical conditions and diseases. Medical information such as the symptoms of fatal pulmonary embolism (PLE), lung damage due to pulmonary embolism (PE), congenital heart disease, and even information regarding a rare form of cancer called pulmonary sarcoma afflicting newborns have all been covered on the webpage dedicated to this medical topic. It is only upon further digging that one finds out that fetal hydrothorax is a rare condition with only 0.1% of those diagnosed with pleural effusions actually exhibiting signs or symptoms of this disorder. This is contrary to other disorders such as asthma, which is common among many different age groups and causes an estimated 10% of new cases of pulmonary embolism.

If a pregnant woman has any of the above symptoms, it is wise to see a doctor immediately. As discussed previously, it is impossible to reverse the development of the lungs. However, there are some treatment options available, such as positive airway pressure, which helps to keep the pleura stimulated and the lungs receiving oxygen and nutrients. Medications such as narcotics and bronchodilators are administered through IV's. Other treatment options include surgical chest wall repositioning, diaphragmatic plastic surgery, and even therapeutic pneumonectomy.

 

Fetal Hydrothorax Fetal Hydrothorax Reviewed by Admin on January 23, 2021 Rating: 5

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