Background/purpose: Although there has been a marked improvement in the survival of children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) in the past 2 decades, there are few reports of long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in this population. The present study examined neurodevelopmental outcomes in 10- to 16-year-old CDH survivors not treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
Methods: Parents of 27 CDH survivors completed questionnaires assessing medical problems, daily living skills, educational outcomes, behavioral problems, and executive functioning. Fifteen CDH survivors and matched full-term controls completed standardized intelligence, academic achievement, phonological processing, and working memory tests.
Results: Non-ECMO-treated CDH survivors demonstrated high rates of clinically significant difficulties on standardized academic achievement measures, and 14 of the 27 survivors had a formal diagnosis of specific learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or developmental disability. Specific problems with executive function, cognitive and attentional weaknesses, and social difficulties were more common in CDH patients than controls. Perioperative hypocapnia was linked to executive dysfunction, behavioral problems, lowered intelligence, and poor achievement in mathematics.
Conclusions: Non-ECMO-treated CDH survivors are at substantial risk for neurodevelopmental problems in late childhood and adolescence.
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