Introduction: The treatment of newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is associated with a significant complication rate. Information on major thrombotic complications and their incidence in newborns with CDH is lacking. The aims of our analysis were to evaluate the frequency of vena cava thrombosis and to determine its predictors within a consecutive series of patients with CDH.
Materials and methods: We retrospectively analyzed charts of all neonates of our department that underwent CDH repair from 2007 to 2021, focusing on vena cava thrombosis. Vena cava thrombosis was diagnosed sonographically and classified as complete or partial venous occlusion. Complete occlusion was confirmed by cavography. Variables evaluated were CDH side, liver position, central vein line, surgical approach, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Univariate and multivariate tests were utilized.
Results: Among 57 neonates who underwent CDH repair, vena cava thrombosis was diagnosed in 14 (24.6%), seven of whom had complete occlusion of the vena cava. Factors associated with vena cava thrombosis were femoral or saphenous venous catheter (p = 0.044), right sided CDH (p = 0.027) and chylothorax (p < 0.0001). ECMO was not associated with vena cava thrombosis. Seven patients (50%) with vena cava thrombosis were treated interventionally with angioplasty and seven (50%) conservatively with anticoagulation only. Mortality was not higher in patients with compared with patients without vena cava thrombosis.
Conclusion: The incidence of vena cava thrombosis in newborns with CDH in our series is high. Routine postoperative abdominal sonography focusing on vena cava thrombosis is mandatory in all patients with CDH. Patients who developed vena cava thrombosis were more likely to develop chylothorax after CDH repair. Considering the good outcome of medical therapy of partial vena cava thrombosis, it may be discussed whether low dose anticoagulation may be provided to all newborns with CDH.
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