Fetal lung volume and quantification of liver herniation by magnetic resonance imaging in isolated congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jun;43(6):662-9. doi: 10.1002/uog.13223.


Objective: To determine associations between fetal lung and liver herniation volumes measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and mortality/need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in cases of isolated congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). A secondary objective was to compare prenatal MRI parameters with two-dimensional ultrasound lung measurements.

Methods: A retrospective review of medical records of all fetuses with isolated CDH evaluated between January 2004 and July 2012 was performed. The following MRI parameters were measured at 20-32 weeks: observed/expected total fetal lung volume (o/e-TLV), predicted pulmonary volume (PPV), percentage of liver herniated into the fetal thorax (%LH) and the liver/thoracic volume ratio (LiTR). These were compared with the ultrasound-determined lung-to-head ratio (LHR) and the observed/expected LHR (o/e-LHR) in the same cohort. The predictive value of MRI and ultrasound parameters for mortality and the need for ECMO was evaluated by univariate, multivariate and factor analysis and by receiver-operating characteristics curves.

Results: Eighty fetuses with isolated CDH were evaluated. Overall mortality was 18/80 (22.5%). Two newborns died a few hours after birth. ECMO was performed in 29/78 (37.2%) newborns, with a survival rate of 48.3% (14/29). The side of the diaphragmatic defect was not associated with mortality (P = 0.99) or the need for ECMO (P = 0.48). Good correlation was observed among o/e-TLV, PPV, LHR and o/e-LHR as well as between %LH and LiTR (r = 0.89; P < 0.01); however, fetal lung measurements and measures of liver herniation were not correlated (all P > 0.05). All parameters were statistically associated with mortality or the need for ECMO. The best combination of measurements to predict mortality was o/e-TLV and %LH, with 83% accuracy.

Conclusion: Mortality and the need for ECMO in neonates with isolated CDH can be best predicted using a combination of MRI o/e-TLV and %LH.

Keywords: congenital diaphragmatic hernia; diaphragm hernia outcomes; fetal lung volumes, fetal ultrasound; liver herniation; lung-to-head ratio; magnetic resonance imaging; prenatal diagnosis; prenatal predictors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology*
  • Head / embryology
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / embryology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Lung / embryology*
  • Lung Volume Measurements / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal