Treatment of uterine vascular malformation in Belgium: A world first!


For the first time in the world, a lymphatic malformation has been treated with a drug administered directly to the mother during pregnancy.

Vascular malformations have a major impact on the quality of life of those affected and require very specific treatment.

Teams from the Centre for Vascular Malformations and the Obstetrics Department of Cliniques Saint-Luc, together with the Human Genetics Laboratory of the de Duve Institute at UCLouvain, have treated a fetus with a lymphatic malformation in uterus.

The results of this exceptional operation are published in the journal "Nature Cardiovascular Research". Considered a rare disease, lymphatic malformations are lesions composed of abnormal lymphatic vessels. Patients with these malformations experience deformities, severe pain, functional impotence, muscle weakness and bleeding. Their quality of life is seriously affected.

For the first time in the world, a vascular malformation has been treated in uterus with a drug (Sirolimus) administered directly to the mother during pregnancy to reach the fetus through the placental barrier.

Through umbilical cord punctures during treatment, the team was able to identify a correspondence between the mother's intake of Sirolimus and its dosage in foetal blood. This is a major advance in the management of foetuses suffering from major vascular anomalies.

Started 6 years ago, this multidisciplinary treatment has been accompanied by long-term follow-up, and today the child is doing well and growing normally.

This Belgian medical feat paves the way for many other disciplines to consider the possibility of initiating treatment as early as possible.