A fetus with a hiatus hernia that led its abdominal organs to be compressed within the chest, was saved by Hadassah Fetal Medicine Expert Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky, using an innovative treatment that is only being performed in five to six medical centers in the world.
Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky
In this type of hernia, there is a hole between the chest and the abdomen, causing the kidneys, stomach, and liver to move up into the chest. While this hernia can be corrected surgically after the baby is born, most babies do not survive more than a few hours because their lungs have been damaged beyond repair. The new procedure involves inserting a balloon into the fetus' trachea and inflating it.
This helps to preserve the fluids in the lungs, keeping them their original size despite the pressure being placed on them by the other organs. "The new treatment is minimally invasive," explains Dr. Gielchinsky, "and involves only local anesthesia and a .11-inch incision." In addition, it improves the fetus' chances of survival to 50 percent."
A short while before the time of expected delivery, the doctor pops the balloon and removes it.
Since Hadassah did not yet have the necessary equipment to perform the treatment, Dr. Gielchinsky flew with the couple to Kings College Hospital in London, where he had trained under Prof. Kypros Nicolaides.
Mom Yifat and baby Oshri
A day after Dr. Gielchinksy inserted the balloon, the pregnant woman was able to return to Israel. During her 35th week of pregnancy, the balloon was removed. A week later, a Caesarean Section led to the birth of a five-pound baby boy, who was named Oshri. When he was one week old, he underwent surgery to return his abdominal organs to their natural surroundings and to close the hernia with a special patch. Today, a few months later, Oshri is a healthy, happy baby. "It was a very difficult process," says his mother, Yifat, "especially mentally. Oshri spent six weeks in the hospital, three of them under ventilation. But the moment you leave the hospital with a healthy baby in your hands, you forget everything and the difficulties become a remote memory."