To act or not to act? Developments in prenatal and postnatal care for children with spina bifida aperta Until the middle of the twentieth century, newborns with spina bifida aperta had low chances of survival. Advances in the treatment of hydrocephalus, among other conditions, led to increased chances of survival during the 1960s. This also revealed the downsides of the treatment of spina bifida patients since some considered the quality of life of a number of these patients to be unacceptable. But withholding treatment also had negative consequences, leading to an ethical deadlock. Over the past thirty years - besides postnatal closure of the neural tube defect - more emphasis has been put on selective pregnancy termination and sporadic active termination of life in newborns with very severe forms of spina bifida. At the same time, new treatment strategies, such as foetal surgery, are being developed. With this historical overview, we illustrate the way in which technological developments and ethical dilemmas are constantly affecting each other.

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Journal Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Lutters, B.T.H. (Bart T H), Spoor, J.K.H, de Jong, A.A.W, Kompanje, E.J.O. (Erwin J O), Verhagen, A.A.E. (A A Eduard), Brouwer, O.F. (Oebo F.), & Groen, R. (2019). Handelen of niet handelen? Ontwikkelingen in de pre-en postnatale zorg voor kinderen met Spina Bifida Aperta. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 163. Retrieved from