OBJECTIVE: Antepartum amnioinfusion is a relatively recent procedure introduced with fetal medicine techniques. It is usually indicated for severe oligohydramnios in order to avoid the related complications such as pulmonary hypoplasia, the deforming effects of oligohydramnios, variable fetal heart rate decelerations and intraventricular hemorrhage. Antepartum amnioinfusion is also employed to improve ultrasound visualization in cases with oligohydramnios. Our objective was to evaluate the benefits and complications related to this procedure which is still less commonly used compared to intrapartum amnioinfusion, and whose risks are therefore not well established. STUDY DESIGN: Reports of study designs identified from searches of MEDLINE, PUBMED, the Cochrane Collaboration, specialized databases and bibliographies of review articles were identified. Studies in women who underwent amnioinfusion between 1987 and 2002 were included. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Amnioinfusion seems to offer several benefits, in terms of both prenatal diagnosis and favorable perinatal outcome. Most clinical experiences report that amnioinfusion is safe, both for the mother and for the fetus. However, randomized control-group studies subdivided on the basis of the cause of oligohydramnios (e.g. premature rupture of membranes, fetal growth restriction, obstructive uropathy and renal agenesis) could help to determine the advantages and risks linked to this procedure. Prospective randomized studies should therefore be encouraged, to clarify any possible doubts regarding the procedure, before it can be introduced into routine practice in the management of oligohydramnios.
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