Liver position and lung-to-head ratio for prediction of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and survival in isolated left congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Oct;197(4):422.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.07.001.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of liver position and lung-to-head ratio to predict outcome in isolated left congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Study design: We reviewed prenatal studies and postnatal outcomes of congenital diaphragmatic hernia between January 1996 and January 2006.

Results: Eighty-nine patients received prenatal and postnatal care at 1 institution. In fetuses with liver up, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was required in 39 of 49 fetuses (80%), compared with 10 of 40 fetuses (25%) for those with liver down (P < .0001). Overall survival rate was 45%, compared with 93% for those with liver down (P < .00005). Low lung-to-head ratio (<1.0) predicted increased incidence of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (75%; P = .036) and lower survival (35%; P = .0003). However, when measured at <24 weeks of gestation, lung-to-head ratio was not predictive of outcome (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, P = .108; survival, P = .150); liver position remained highly predictive (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, P = .006; survival, P = .001).

Conclusion: Liver position is the best prenatal predictor of outcome in isolated left congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Lung-to-head ratio alone should not be used to counsel families regarding mid gestational management choices.

MeSH terms

  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / methods*
  • Female
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / diagnostic imaging
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / metabolism
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / therapy
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver / embryology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lung / embryology*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal