Several fetal therapies involve repeated amniotic fluid intervention. We hypothesize that a minimally invasive approach can be used to safely implant an intrauterine catheter infusion system in a fetal ovine model for chronic use during pregnancy.
Five pregnant sheep underwent operation between gestational days 110 and 115 (term 145 days). A Codman® implantable infusion pump was adapted for intrauterine use. The chamber was placed in the maternal flank and the tunneled catheter laparoscopically inserted into the amniotic cavity, secured with a pursestring. Three had an additional uterine anchoring suture. Ewes were sacrificed after natural delivery, and the uterus underwent gross and microscopic analyses.
There were no maternal mortalities, abortions, or preterm labor. Pumps were accessed and remained functional throughout gestation. Four ewes delivered healthy term lambs; the other delivered twins with failure to progress and demise. On necropsy, catheters secured with an anchoring suture remained in place, while the other 2 dislodged during labor. There was no chorioamnionitis by culture or histology.
Laparoscopically placed intra-amniotic infusion catheters were implanted safely and remained functional until delivery in an ovine model. This novel approach has promise in providing safe, durable amniotic fluid access for the potential treatment of fetal disease.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.