Background/purpose: In 1990, the authors began a multidisciplinary follow-up clinic for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) patients. Although the nonpulmonary complications associated with CDH have been reported previously from this clinic, the purpose of this report is to detail the pulmonary outcome in survivors of CDH with severe pulmonary hypoplasia.
Methods: Between 1990 and 1999, one hundred patients were seen in the clinic. Before hospital discharge, all patients had baseline tests performed, which were repeated per protocol at clinic during follow-up. The data were analyzed by regression analysis to identify and determine the impact of factors on outcomes associated with the long-term pulmonary morbidity.
Results: The average birth weight was 3.16 kg (+/-0.7) with a mean Apgar score of 7 (+/- 2) at 5 minutes. Forty-one patients had an antenatal diagnosis performed. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was utilized in 29 patients, and a patch repair was required in 32, whereas 16 patients received both. Average time to extubation was 20.7 (+/- 20) days and mean time to discharge was 59.7 (+/- 61) days. Regression analysis showed that both the need for ECMO and a patch repair were independent predictors of delay in extubation (P <. 001, R(2) = 36%), and delay in discharge from the hospital (P =.001, R(2) = 29%). ECMO also was significantly correlated with the need for diuretics at discharge (P <.001, R(2) = 18%), and with the presence of left-right mismatch (P =.009, R(2) = 9%) and V/Q mismatch (P =.005, R(2) = 11%) on subsequent pulmonary ventilation-perfusion examinations. Sixteen patients required O(2) at discharge, and diuretics were necessary in 43 patients. Seventeen patients at discharge required bronchodilators, and during the first year an additional 36 required at least transient therapy. Similarly, 6 patients at discharge required steroids, and an additional 35 patients required at least transient therapy during the first year. Chest x-rays, although frequently abnormal, had little correlation with clinical outcome, but did influence medical therapy. V/Q scans had limited utility in patient management, and the presence of V/Q mismatch was not highly specific for future obstructive airway disease. Nevertheless, V/Q mismatch was sensitive for obstructive airway disease assessed by spirometry. Twenty-five patients over 5 years of age performed pulmonary function tests (PFTs), which showed 72% normal PFT results and 28% with evidence of obstructive airway disease. Before January 1997, 2 of 8 patients who required urgent treatment in the emergency department (ED) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) secondary to acute respiratory distress. After the implementation of respiratory syncytial viral prophylaxis in January 1997, 8 patients were treated in the ED for acute respiratory distress, but none required admission to the ICU.
Conclusions: Pulmonary problems continue to be a source of morbidity for survivors of CDH long after discharge. The need for ECMO and the presence of a patch repair are both predictive of more significant morbidity, but the data clearly show that non-ECMO CDH survivors also require frequent attention to pulmonary issues beyond the neonatal period. These data show the need for long-term follow-up of CDH patients preferably with a multidisciplinary team approach.