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Conservative management of antenatally diagnosed cystic lung malformations
  1. Christabella Ng,
  2. Joanna Stanwell,
  3. David M Burge,
  4. Michael P Stanton
  1. Department of Paediatric Surgery, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Stanton, Department of Paediatric Surgery, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK; michael.stanton{at}


Aim To review the outcome of all antenatally diagnosed conservatively managed congenital lung malformations (CLMs) managed at our centre.

Methods All patients diagnosed antenatally with cystic lung malformations from 2001 to 2011, at a tertiary referral paediatric surgical centre practising a policy of conservative management of asymptomatic cases, were retrospectively reviewed. Data were collected from medical case notes and radiology reports. Ethical approval was obtained from our institutional research and development department.

Results The complete records of 74 fetuses antenatally diagnosed with CLM were reviewed. There were 72 live births, at a median gestation of 39.6 weeks. Emergency lobectomy was performed in one symptomatic neonate. Elective lobectomies were performed at parental request in three asymptomatic infants, one of whom had a family history of synovial sarcoma. Two patients developed pneumonia in the affected lobe during early childhood and proceeded to lobectomy at the age of 3 years. One patient with a bronchopulmonary sequestration required embolisation for cyanotic episodes. The remaining 65 patients have been conservatively managed to date, and none have required hospital admission. Less than a quarter report mild respiratory symptoms such as cough or wheeze. Median follow-up is 5 years.

Conclusions This retrospective cohort study of 74 consecutive CLMs diagnosed antenatally over a 10-year period demonstrates that most of these lesions will remain asymptomatic throughout childhood. Although the natural history of CLMs in later years remains to be elucidated, we hope that this report on medium-term outcomes will be useful to clinicians who undertake antenatal counselling and may inform the discussion on how best to manage these children.

  • Fetal Medicine
  • General Paediatrics
  • Respiratory
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