Fetal Surgery Is Coming of Age
–Nurses from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Review Dramatic Advances, Describe Best Care Practices–
PHILADELPHIA, June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Maternal-fetal care is entering a new era. Highly sophisticated surgical teams now repair spina bifida and other birth defects in the womb, place fetal shunts to treat life-threatening congenital conditions, and perform minimally invasive procedures in the mother’s uterus to treat complications in fetal twins.
These are examples of the still-emerging, complex field of fetal surgery, which has previously yielded relatively little published research on best practices in nursing care. “Nurses are in a crucial position to care for mothers, fetuses and newborns as fetal interventions expand,” said Susan R. Miesnik, MSN, CRNP, the guest editor of the In Focus section of the May/June 2012 Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing.
The new issue of the journal has a special focus on fetal surgery. Miesnik is a perinatal nurse practitioner at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one of a handful of comprehensive fetal surgery programs in the world. Miesnik and her colleagues in the field, including 10 from Children’s Hospital, review the latest nursing practice in this field in four articles.
The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment was in the spotlight in Feb. 2011, as one of the lead centers that reported highly encouraging results from the MOMS trial, the landmark, seven-year-long, federally sponsored clinical trial of fetal surgery for spina bifida. An article in the journal reviews the nurse’s role in coordinating care for women, fetuses and newborns undergoing this pioneering treatment.
Another article reviews the history of fetal therapy, starting with laboratory research 20 to 30 years ago and describing current treatments for a growing number of prenatally diagnosed conditions. A separate article focuses on nursing care in the placement of fetal shunts for lower urinary tract obstructions, lung lesions and other problems. The fourth review article in the series covers the range of complications related to identical twin gestations, such as twin-twin transfusion syndrome, in which abnormal blood vessel connections cause one fetus to grow at the expense of its twin.
“As the field of fetal medicine continues to advance, more and more babies are being treated before they are born, and as pioneers in the field, it is crucial that we share this important information with our nursing colleagues across the country and around the world,” added Miesnik.
About the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP
The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is an internationally recognized leader in fetal surgery and fetal care. One of the only programs of its kind in the world, it offers a comprehensive breadth of services, including fetal therapy, to support patients from prenatal evaluation through delivery, postnatal care, and long-term follow-up. Established in 1995, the Center has welcomed more than 12,000 expectant parents and received referrals from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. Its multidisciplinary team brings decades of experience to the care and treatment of the fetus and the expectant mother. The Center has performed over 800 fetal surgeries, including complex open procedures for birth defects such as spina bifida; less invasive fetoscopic or ultrasound-guided surgeries for conditions such as twin-twin transfusion syndrome; and specialized coordinated delivery approaches for babies that require surgical intervention while still on maternal-placental life support (EXIT delivery). For more information visit http://fetalsurgery.chop.edu.
The Fetal Heart Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia specializes in the detection, evaluation and management of fetal heart defects prior to a baby’s birth. The team performs more than 2,500 fetal echocardiography studies annually, making it one of the largest fetal heart programs in the US. The program’s offerings include: state-of-the-art technology, planning for labor and delivery and complete care for the newborn after birth, access to the full Cardiac Center team and the most advanced fetal heart defect treatments available, including fetal heart interventions if necessary. The Cardiac Center performs more than 800 cardiothoracic surgeries per year and the Center’s outcomes are among the best in the world.
About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
Contact: Ashley Moore
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Phone: (267) 426-6071
SOURCE The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia