Nutritional morbidity in survivors of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

J Pediatr Surg. 2001 Aug;36(8):1171-6. doi: 10.1053/jpsu.2001.25746.


Purpose: The purpose of this report is to detail the nutritional sequelae seen in survivors of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) followed in a multidisciplinary clinic.

Methods: Data on 121 surviving CDH patients seen between 1990 and 2000 were collected. Regression analysis was used to determine the impact of factors such as Apgar score, birth weight, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and patch repair on outcomes associated with nutritional morbidity.

Results: There were 100 left and 21 right CDH defects. Mean birth weight and 5-minute Apgar score were 3.1 kg (+/-0.8) and 6.8(+/-2), respectively. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was required in 43 (36%) patients and patch repair in 39 (32%). A gastrostomy was required in 39 (32%) patients and a fundoplication in 23 (19%) patients. The side of the defect did not affect the frequency of these procedures. Fifty-six percent of patients were below the 25th percentile for weight during most of their first year. Regression analysis found that duration of ventilation (P <.001) and the presence of a patch repair (P =.03) were independent variables predictive of failure to thrive thereby requiring a gastrostomy tube. Patch repair also was predictive of need for subsequent fundoplication caused by gastroesophageal reflux (P <.001). Twenty-nine patients (24%) had severe oral aversion. Risk factors were prolonged ventilation (P =.001) and oxygen requirement at discharge (P =.015). Two thirds of these patients subsequently improved.

Conclusions: Nutritional problems continue to be a source of morbidity for survivors of CDH, particularly in the first year of life. Not surprisingly, patients who had prolonged intubation and prosthetic material at the gastroesophageal junction fared worse. Despite aggressive nutritional management, 56% of the population remained below the twenty-fifth percentile for weight. These data show the need for careful nutritional assessment in all CDH patients, especially those at high risk for malnutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / epidemiology
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / epidemiology*
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / surgery
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survivors