Paper wins Best Abstract in Fetal Therapy Award

By Darla Brown, Office of Communications

Dr. Eric Bergh - Best Abstract in Fetal Therapy Award
Dr. Eric Bergh, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, is the first recipient of the Best Abstract in Fetal Therapy Award

Eric Bergh, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, is the inaugural winner of the Best Abstract in Fetal Therapy Award supported by North American Fetal Therapy Network in memory of Elizabeth Thom.

The award was presented last week at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s 2023 Annual Meeting in San Francisco for the abstract, Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion (FETO) versus expectant care of severe left-diaphragmatic hernia in North America. The research found that in North American centers, when compared to standard postnatal treatment of severe Left-CDH, FETO led to a nonsignificant increase in six-month survival and a significant decrease in the duration of ECMO among a subgroup of patients.

“I was extremely honored to receive this award on behalf of the NAFTNet FETO consortium, and I am particularly thankful to the P.I., Dr. Anthony Johnson, for his support and mentorship,” Bergh said, adding that many individuals from several fetal surgical centers across North America made significant contributions to this work. “Our publication truly reflects how collaboration across sites can lead to significant insights into the treatment of congenital diaphragmatic hernia.”

The award-winning paper, as selected by NAFTNet board members, was published in the January 2023 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with Johnson, professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and co-director of the Fetal Center, the senior author.

“This data represents the largest cohort of severe L-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia (L-CDH) to receive treatment with fetoscopic tracheal balloon occlusion (FETO) in North America and is the first publication of our experience with this technique,” Bergh explained.

FETO is currently the only prenatal treatment for L-CDH. The data from this study makes significant contributions to understanding of the impact of FETO on neonatal survival and morbidity in children born with severe L-CDH in North America.

Bergh joined the McGovern Medical School faculty in 2020. He earned his medical degree from Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and completed both a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He subsequently completed a fetal intervention fellowship at McGovern Medical School.

Bergh’s interests include operative fetoscopy, fetal transfusion, and open fetal surgery. He has expertise training in fetal intervention for conditions including twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn, fetal spina bifida and other fetoscopic-based and needle-guided in-utero procedures. He serves on the medical staff of The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Paper authors include Bergh; Ahmet A. Baschat, MD; Magdalena Sanz Cores, MD, PhD; Holly L. Hedrick, MD; Greg Ryan, MD; Foong-Yen Lim, MD; Michael V Zaretsky, MD; Mauro H. Schenone, MD; Timothy Crombleholme MD; Rodrigo Ruano, MD, PhD; Kristen Gosnell, RN; and Johnson.