Children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia are at risk for lower levels of cognitive functioning and increased emotional and behavioral problems

Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2000 Feb;10(1):3-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1072314.


The physical, psychological, and social functioning of 11 children aged 8 to 12 years with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) was assessed with several standardized assessment procedures. Physically, most children functioned well at follow-up with half of the children showing minor physical problems such as bronchial hyperreactivity. The mean IQ of the children was 15 points (1 SD) below the norm of 100. Only 6 children were at expected school level. The children showed more emotional and behavioral problems than in the general population as reported by parents and teachers. The children themselves reported more depressive problems, but not a lower self-esteem than children in the general population. These results were confirmed by the results of interviews with parents and children concerning psychosocial functioning. It is concluded that children with CDH show more cognitive and learning problems and increased rates of emotional and behavioral problems compared to children in the general population. Since no children treated with Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) were involved in this study, the earlier reports that lower cognitive functioning is limited to children with CDH treated with ECMO can not be confirmed by this study. Considering the results of this study, there is a need for further follow-up studies concerning the long-term psychological and social functioning of children with CDH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / psychology*
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Socialization