OBJECTIVE: In the management of bilateral fetal hydrothorax where the fetus is non-hydropic and apparently otherwise normal, we wished to determine if pleural-amniotic shunt insertion was better than conservative management in terms of mortality.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted between 1992 and 2017. Data extracted was inspected for heterogeneity. Where there was comparative data available, the odds ratio (OR) and confidence interval (CI) were calculated.
RESULTS: Seven studies were included in this systematic review. There was a paucity of comparative data where only 2 studies (28 cases) allowed for direct comparison. Within the limitations of the study, there was no difference between shunt insertion vs. conservative management in terms of stillbirth or miscarriage (OR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.12-8.34, heterogeneity I2 = 0%, p = 1.00).
CONCLUSION: There is insufficient data available to determine whether the outcome is improved by pleural-amniotic shunt insertion compared with conservative management in cases of bilateral fetal hydrothorax where the fetus is non-hydropic and otherwise normal.