Introduction: We review the characteristics and prenatal choices of patients recently evaluated for neural tube defects (NTD) at two tertiary units. The prenatal diagnosis of NTD allows parents to consider all prenatal options. In selected cases of spina bifida aperta this also includes fetal surgery, which we started offering after combined 'in-house' and 'exported' training. Material and Methods: This is a retrospective review of prospectively collected data on NTD diagnosed over the last 8 years and recent fetal surgery referrals. Results: A total of 167 patients were referred for assessment at a median of 19 weeks. Cranial lesions were diagnosed significantly earlier than spinal lesions. Of the open spinal lesions, 77% were isolated. Of these, 22% were managed expectantly and 1 (1%) had fetal surgery. There was no correlation between parental decisions on prenatal management with disease-specific severity markers. We had 14 fetal surgery referrals, all but 1 from beyond our typical referral area; 6 of the assessed patients were operated on, 4 were expectantly managed and 4 requested termination of pregnancy (TOP). These pregnancy outcomes were in the expected range. Discussion: Open spina bifida is mainly diagnosed in the second trimester and 76% of subjects request TOP, irrespective of the severity indicators. The number of local patients considering fetal surgery is low.

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Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Ovaere, C., Eggink, A., Richter, J., Cohen-Overbeek, T., van Calenbergh, F., Jansen, K., … Deprest, J. (2015). Prenatal diagnosis and patient preferences in patients with neural tube defects around the advent of fetal surgery in Belgium and Holland. Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy (Vol. 37, pp. 226–234). doi:10.1159/000365214