Sunday, 21 June 2009

FETO - Balloon is in!! 19th May 2009

What a day!! Today is the day we got the balloon in. The procedure is called FETO and I will try to describe what it is.
FETO involves inserting a 4mm balloon inside the babys trachea (windpipe) while the baby is still in the womb. Whilst inside the womb every baby produces lung fluid. The aim of the balloon is to block the windpipe so as the fluid is being produced against a pressure which inturn causes the lungs to grow. There can be many complications to this. Firstly, as the baby cannot swallow the amniotic fluid as easily, it can build up which can cause premature labour. Secondly, as they are going through the amniotic fluid for the operation it can cause a rupture which would lead to premature labour within 48hrs. Also, if the babys lungs are in a really bad way they may not have the potential for growth. Finally, it is possible for the balloon to become dislodged or burst. We decided that these risks are minimal if we look at the alternative to not having it done.

Thankfully, I was not aware of how painful the procedure would be! I had to give blood and get IV antibiotics beforehand which I was more worried about!
At the start of the procedure the professor had to turn the baby as it was lying breech, that was so painful! Then he had to put the baby to sleep by injection and prod my stomach numerous times until sleeping. True to form, my baby would not give up and kept on moving, I think it must be a very stubbornbaby, just like its mum! After what felt like 5 or 6 severe prods baby was finally asleep. I was then given a local anesthetic before a tube was placed in my stomach that would allow professor Nicolaides to put a camera down the tube and into the Uterus to the baby. He then used the camera to guide it into the babys mouth with the balloon following shortly behind. The balloon was carefully placed in the trachea where it was inflated. It is hard to believe that this procedure is actually microscopic and to appreciate how good the prof really is.
After that I had 600ml of fluid drained and an amnio was taken. This is a sample of fluid that is sent away to check for chromosome abnormalities, thankfully it came back clear.

If we lived closer we would be getting monitored after 2 days and again after 7 days to assess lung response to the balloon , as we live in Northern Ireland we will just have to wait and see what happens. At this time an appointment has been made for us to return on 9th July to have the balloon removed and we have been given detailed instructions for the team in Belfast regarding removal of the balloon at birth due to risk of premature labour being so high.

Catalina (our consultant at Kings) has also given us instructions to give to our consultant to calculate the Lung to head ratio (LHR) and she is going to monitor my fluid levels. At this stage it is anticipated that I may need my fluid drained as often as weekly. This is not good as every time they go into the uterus they are increasing the chance of early labour. Having said that, the risk of not draining is greater.

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