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Palliative care for prenatally diagnosed lethal fetal abnormality
  1. A C G Breeze1,
  2. C C Lees1,
  3. A Kumar2,
  4. H H Missfelder-Lobos1,
  5. E M Murdoch2
  1. 1Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr. C C Lees
    Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Box 228, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK;Christoph.lees{at}


Diagnosis of lethal fetal abnormality raises challenging decisions for parents and clinicians. Most parents opt for termination, which may include feticide. Advances in imaging seem unlikely to lead to earlier diagnoses. Perinatal palliative care offers an alternative. Parental decision making and the clinical aspects of perinatal palliative care were studied after a prenatal diagnosis of lethal fetal abnormality in 20 pregnancies. 40% of parents chose to continue the pregnancy and pursue perinatal palliative care. Six of these eight babies were liveborn and lived for between 1½ h and 3 weeks.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethical approval: The protocol for this study was discussed with ethics committee, but formal review not required.

  • Published Online First 16 May 2006