Children's Hospital Colorado

Bladder Outlet Obstruction

Bladder outlet obstruction, also known as a lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO), occurs in approximately 4,000 births per year. It's a fetal condition where urine is unable to pass from the baby's bladder to the amniotic sac surrounding it. It is typically more common in males than in females. This condition occurs when urine made from the baby's kidneys is unable to drain from the bladder due to an obstruction in the urinary tract.

Bladder outlet obstruction in a fetus can impact many aspects of development. Naturally, an obstruction will impact the development of the urinary tract, including the bladder and kidneys. Due to fluid buildup in the bladder, lung development can also be affected by an obstruction, which in turn puts strain on the heart.

When a baby is not releasing urine, it can also result in lower levels of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. This reduces the "cushion" a baby has, which can delay lung development and limit movement. Other complications from congenital conditions may also be discovered, which is why the fetal care team uses a multidisciplinary approach to care for babies with bladder outlet obstruction.

Contact the Colorado Fetal Care Center

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

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Kenneth Liechty, MD

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Frank Chow, MD

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