Timing of lung size assessment in the prediction of survival in fetuses with diaphragmatic hernia

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jan;31(1):37-40. doi: 10.1002/uog.5198.


Objectives: To investigate whether the prediction of postnatal outcome of fetuses with isolated congenital diaphragmatic hernia depends on the gestational age at assessment using the fetal observed to expected (O/E) lung area to head circumference ratio (LHR), by comparing the performance of the test at 22-23 weeks with that at 32-33 weeks of gestation.

Methods: Following prenatal diagnosis of isolated diaphragmatic hernia before 22 weeks, we evaluated the O/E LHR at 22-32 weeks and again at 32-33 weeks of gestation. Only cases liveborn beyond 34 weeks of gestation and with postnatal follow-up available until discharge from the hospital were included. Regression analysis was used to examine the effect on postnatal survival of O/E LHR, gestational age at delivery, side of the diaphragmatic hernia and intrathoracic position of the liver. Wilcoxon rank test for paired samples was used to compare median O/E LHR at 22-23 weeks and 32-33 weeks, in babies who survived and in those who died. Receiver-operating characteristics (ROC) curves were constructed for the prediction of survival by O/E LHR at 22-23 weeks and at 32-33 weeks.

Results: In total, 53 pairs of measurements could be assessed. Univariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that significant predictors of survival were the presence or absence of intrathoracic herniation of the liver, the O/E LHR at 22-23 weeks and the O/E LHR at 32-33 weeks of gestation. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that only O/E LHR at 22-23 weeks or 32-33 weeks provided significant independent prediction of survival. The median O/E LHR at 22-23 weeks was not significantly different from that at 32-23 weeks either in survivors or in babies that subsequently died in the neonatal period (P = 0.25 and P = 0.09, respectively). The area under the ROC curve for prediction of postnatal survival from the O/E LHR at 22-23 weeks was 0.789 (P < 0.001) and that for prediction from the O/E LHR at 32-33 weeks was 0.842 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: In isolated diaphragmatic hernia, O/E LHR measurement at 22-23 weeks as well as at 32-33 weeks provides useful independent prediction of subsequent survival. The prediction of postnatal survival using O/E LHR is independent of the timing of assessment.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cephalometry / methods
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods