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Keywords:

  • congenital diaphragmatic hernia;
  • congenital high airway obstruction syndrome (CHAOS);
  • ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure;
  • fetal airway management;
  • neck mass

Abstract

The ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure is a term given to a technique that can transform a potentially fatal neonatal emergency to a controlled intervention with an improved outcome. It has revolutionised the care of prenatally diagnosed congenital malformations in which severe upper airway obstruction is anticipated. An extended period of utero-placental circulation can be utilised to avoid profound cardiopulmonary compromise. Its therapeutic applications have been broadened to include fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia after tracheal plugging, high-risk intrathoracic masses, severe cardiac malformations and conjoined twins. It requires the co-ordination of a highly skilled and experienced multidisciplinary team. The recent enthusiasm for the EXIT procedure needs to be balanced against maternal morbidity. Specific indications and guidelines are likely to be refined as a consequence of ongoing advances in fetal intervention and antenatal imaging.