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Keywords

fetal ascites, fetal edema, hydrops fetalis, nonimmune, pulmonary hypoplasia

 

Authors

  1. Sosa, Mary Ellen Burke RNC, MS

Abstract

Nonimmune hydrops fetalis (NIHF) is a term that defines an edematous fetus that does not have erythroblastosis fetalis from isoimmunization. All of the other reasons that a fetus develops NIHF are included in this category. The causes of NIHF range from diseases to structural anomalies to genetic abnormalities. The mere presence of NIHF is a poor prognostic indicator, even with the etiology unknown. Some causes of NIHF are treatable with intrauterine therapies. These currently include cordocentesis to administer intrauterine transfusions or medications and fetal surgery. Prenatal testing to establish an etiology or follow the progress of the fetus is extensive, expensive, and stressful. The mortality rate remains high. Education, counseling, and support of the patient and family are the work of the prenatal period. Delivery room management of the infant with NIHF requires a resuscitation team with a specific plan of care to maximize chances of survival.