Background/purpose: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a treatment of last resort for neonates with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) caused by congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) may be used for preoperative stabilization or postoperative rescue. The aim of this study was to examine the acute and long-term morbidity associated with pre- and postoperative ECMO.
Methods: Neonates born with CDH and needing ECMO were classified into 2 groups. Group 1 consisted of neonates placed on ECMO after CDH surgery. Patients in group 2 underwent preoperative ECMO stabilization. Medical records after birth were evaluated. Growth, neuromotor and cognitive development, hearing, and behavior were evaluated. Student t test and chi(2) were used to determine statistical significance between groups.
Results: Subjects in group 2 had significantly more days on ECMO and loop diuretics. Alkalosis was induced for a longer duration in group 2. At follow-up 3 to 9 years later, no differences were found between the 2 groups in growth parameters, neuromotor outcome, or behavior. However, in group 1, 2 of 9 children had significant hearing impairment necessitating amplification compared with 6 of 6 subjects in group 2.
Conclusions: Neonates with CDH first stabilized on ECMO (group 2) had a higher incidence of hearing loss compared with those needing ECMO postrepair (group 1). The etiology of this finding is not clear. This may be secondary to the prolonged period of hyperventilation or general intensive care that is part of the protocol for neonates who are electively stabilized on ECMO preoperatively. J Pediatr Surg 36:539-544.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.