Long-term gastrointestinal morbidity in patients with congenital diaphragmatic defects

J Pediatr Surg. 1996 Apr;31(4):551-4. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(96)90494-7.


Recent reports indicate a significant incidence of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and other nonpulmonary problems after the repair of congenital diaphragmatic defects. Reports of follow-up through adulthood are few and based on a small number of patients. From 1948 to 1982, 107 of 164 patients (65%) treated at the authors' institution survived after repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia or eventration. Sixty of the 107 survivors (56%) (mean age, 29.6 years; SD, 9.0 years) were interviewed and examined clinically. Forty-one of the sixty (68%) underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Early postoperative GER was recorded for 11 of the 60 patients (18%). Two of them underwent fundoplication because of an esophageal stricture. At the time of the follow-up study, 38 of the 60 (63%) reported symptoms suggestive of GER. Endoscopic or histological GER (esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus) was present in 22 of 41 patients (54%). No significant correlation between the initial severity of the diaphragmatic defect or neonatal postoperative problems and the late GER could be verified. Intestinal obstruction requiring hospital admission occurred in 12 of the 60 patients (20%), eight of whom had surgical treatment between 1 month and 20 years after repair of the diaphragmatic defect. GER and intestinal obstruction are common among patients who have undergone repair of a congenital diaphragmatic defect. Investigations for GER should be performed routinely during the follow-up of these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diaphragmatic Eventration / mortality
  • Diaphragmatic Eventration / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / mortality
  • Gestational Age
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / mortality
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / surgery
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / mortality
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Reoperation
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate