Purpose: Variable approaches to the care of infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) by multiple providers may contribute to inconsistent care. Our institution developed a comprehensive evidence-based protocol to standardize the management of CDH infants. This report reviews patient outcomes before and after the implementation of the protocol.
Methods: Retrospective chart review of CDH infants managed with individualized care (preprotocol group, January 1997-December 2001, n = 22) or on the protocol (Protocol group, January 2002-July 2009, n = 47). Survival and other categorical variables were compared by chi(2) analysis, and continuous variables were compared using 1-sided analysis of variance analysis, with significance defined as P < .05.
Results: Survival to discharge was significantly greater in the Protocol group (40/47; 85%) than the preprotocol group (12/22; 52%; P = .006), although mean gestational age, mean birth weight, and expected survival were not statistically different between the 2 groups. The use of supportive therapies, including high-frequency jet ventilation, inhaled nitric oxide, and extracorporeal life support, was similar between groups as well.
Conclusions: Since the implementation of a management protocol for infants with CDH, survival has improved significantly compared with expected survival and preprotocol controls. Reduction in the variability of care through use of an evidence-based protocol may improve the survival of CDH infants.
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