Over a 3-year-period, pulmonary hypoplasia was diagnosed in 14 cases out of a group of 150 infants born prematurely after prolonged rupture of fetal membranes and prolonged amniotic fluid leakage of whom 30 died. Review of these patients revealed pulmonary hypoplasia to be the main single cause of neonatal death (13/30). In contrast to literature data, infection was only a minor complication in this series. Lung hypoplasia was clearly correlated with long-standing rupture of membranes with oligohydramnios. It is concluded that upon premature rupture of fetal membranes, prenatal care should focus on oligohydramnios, because if this condition is prolonged, the risk of pulmonary hypoplasia increases accordingly.
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