Operative repair in congenital diaphragmatic hernia: How long do we really need to wait?

J Pediatr Surg. 2022 Sep;57(9):17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2022.01.020. Epub 2022 Jan 31.


Objective: To analyze preoperative cardiopulmonary support and define preoperative stability relative to timing of surgical repair for CDH neonates not on ECMO.

Study design: We retrospectively analyzed repeated measures of oxygenation index (OI; Paw*FiO2×100/PaO2) among 158 neonates for temporal preoperative trends. We defined physiologic stability using OI and characterized ventilator days and discharge age relative to delay in repair beyond physiologic stability.

Results: The OI in the first 24 h of life was temporally reliable and representative of the preoperative mean (ICC 0.70, 95% CI 0.61-0.77). A pre-operative OI of ≤ 9.4 (AUC 0.95) was predictive of survival. Surgical delay after an OI ≤ 9.4 resulted in increased ventilator days (1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.9) and discharge age (1.5, 95% CI 1.2-2.0). When prospectively applied to a subsequent cohort, an OI ≤ 9.4 was again reflective of physiologic stability prior to repair.

Conclusion: OI values are temporally reliable and change minimally after 24 h age. Delay in surgical repair of CDH beyond initial stability increases ventilator days and discharge age without a survival benefit.

Level of evidence: Prognosis study, Level III.

Keywords: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia; Neonate; Operation; Oxygenation index.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies