Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion (FETO)

  • End date
    Mar 2, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Colorado, Denver
Updated on 17 February 2022
diaphragmatic hernia
pulmonary hypoplasia


The purpose of this research study is to see if the FETO surgery and FETO release (surgery to remove the device) works and is safe for babies with severe right or left Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). CDH is a condition in which a hole in the baby's diaphragm allows the abdominal organs to move into the chest and limit lung growth. The goal of the FETO device is to block the airway with a balloon-type device, allowing fluid to build up and help the unborn baby's lungs grow. Bigger lungs may improve the baby's quality of life.


Despite advances in prenatal diagnosis and postnatal therapies, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), inhaled nitric oxide therapy, and ventilator strategies that minimize ventilator-induced lung injury, morbidity and mortality rates for babies with severe CDH remain high. Data from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) between January 2006 and December 2010 for prenatal and postnatal care for 64 patients with isolated left CDH showed overall survival was 63%. Survival was 33% in patients requiring the use ECMO. Immediate morbidity/mortality is related to the severity of the pulmonary hypoplasia caused by the mass effect of the herniated abdominal contents on the developing lungs. Quantifying the severity of pulmonary hypoplasia has been performed using the observed/expected lung to head circumference ratio (O/E LHR). It is a tool validated in 354 fetuses with unilateral isolated CDH evaluated between 18 and 38 weeks gestation. For O/E LHR < 25%, survival was dismal at 1/9 or 11% (CHOP experience, not published). Published data from an interdisciplinary follow-up program at CHOP shows striking morbidities in neuromuscular tone and neurodevelopmental status.

The rationale for fetal therapy in severe CDH is to improve fetal lung growth and therefore neonatal survival. Prenatal tracheal occlusion obstructs the normal egress of lung fluid during pulmonary development leading to increased lung tissue stretch, increased cell proliferation, and accelerated lung growth. European colleagues have developed foregut endoscopy and techniques to position and remove endoluminal tracheal balloons in utero. Recently, the Belgium group published summary results of FETO showing an improved survival in 175 patients with isolated left CDH from 24% to 49%.

The investigators goal with this pilot study is to study the feasibility of implementing FETO therapy in the most severe group of fetuses with left CDH (O/E< 25%; O/E < 30%) and right CDH (O/E < 45%).

Condition Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
Treatment Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion (FETO)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03674372
SponsorUniversity of Colorado, Denver
Last Modified on17 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Pregnant women age 18 years and older, who are able to consent
Singleton pregnancy
Normal Karyotype
Fetal Diagnosis of Isolated Left or Right CDH with liver up
Gestation at enrollment prior to 29 wks plus 6 days
SEVERE pulmonary hypoplasia with Ultra Sound L-sided O/E LHR < 25% or R-sided O/E LHR <45%

Exclusion Criteria

Pregnant women <18 years of age
Maternal contraindication to fetoscopic surgery or severe maternal medical condition in pregnancy
Technical limitations precluding fetoscopic surgery
Rubber latex allergy
Preterm labor, cervix shortened (<15 mm at enrollment or within 24 hours of FETO balloon insertion procedure) or uterine anomaly strongly predisposing to preterm labor, placenta previa
Psychosocial ineligibility, precluding consent
Inability to remain at FETO site during time period of tracheal occlusion, delivery and postnatal care
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