Right congenital diaphragmatic hernia: an 18-year experience

Department of Pediatric Surgery, University of Padua, 35121 Padua, Italy.
Journal of Pediatric Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.39). 03/2007; 42(3):517-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2006.10.044
Source: PubMed


Prenatal diagnosis and outcome of right congenital diaphragmatic hernia (RCDH) are far less well known than the more common left CDH (LCDH). In addition, onset of RCDH beyond the neonatal period with a spectrum of atypical symptoms is not unusual. A retrospective analysis of RCDH treated at a single center over 18 years has been reviewed with regard to outcome after the introduction of a new treatment protocol for CDH.
All charts of patients with CDH between 1987 and 2004 were reviewed. Twenty-nine patients with RCDH were identified. The patients were divided into 2 historical groups: group 1, from 1987 to 1998 (16 patients), and group 2, from 1999 to 2004 (13 patients). From 1999, at the Department of Pediatric Surgery of Padua, the management of a baby born with CDH has been standardized and includes planned delivery at term, high-frequency oscillatory ventilation since birth, inhaled nitric oxide if required, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a "last resort," and delayed repair once the infant is hemodynamically stable. Patients with either prenatal diagnosis of RCDH or early onset of symptoms (<6 hours of life) were considered "high risk," and those with late onset (>6 hours) were considered "low risk."
Of 29 patients, prenatal diagnosis was available in 8 (27.5%) and major associated malformations in 8 patients (27.5%). Eight (50%) of 16 cases from group 1 and 9 (69.2%) of 13 cases from group 2 were high-risk patients. There was a trend in favor of a higher survival among high-risk patients from group 2 (25% vs 44%), although this was not statistically significant. As expected, all low-risk patients survived (P = .0001). Plain thorax x-ray was diagnostic in 23 (82.1%) cases, initially normal in 3, not performed in 1, and misinterpreted as right lower lobe pneumonia in 2. At operation, the prosthetic patch was required in 2 (9%) of 22 cases and the peritoneal sac was found in 4 (13.7%).
(1) The rate of prenatal diagnosis of RCDH was low and remained stable throughout the examined period. (2) The introduction of a treatment protocol, using high-frequency oscillatory ventilation since birth, improved the survival of high-risk patients with RCDH, although the data did not reach statistical significance. (3) The majority (75%) of low-risk patients presented beyond the first week of life with a variety of aspecific gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms that accounted for initial misdiagnosis. (4) Even in these cases, the outcome was excellent.

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