Predictive capabilities of preoperative and postoperative pulmonary function tests in delayed repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Thomas F. Tracy, Patrick V. Bailey, Farouk Sadiq, Akihiko Noguchi, Mark L. Silen, Thomas R. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


To improve the survival of newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), preoperative stabilization with conventional ventilatory therapy and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) have been used. Measurements that quantify pulmonary function may allow an accurate assessment of lethal pulmonary hypoplasia and predict outcome. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) were obtained in 20 infants preoperatively and postoperatively; these included measurements of compliance, dynamic compliance, and tidal volume. Overall survival was 75%. Six surviving infants were initially managed with ventilator therapy alone, followed by repair (group 1). The remaining 14 patients, who were moribund at presentation or whose initial ventilator therapy failed, were placed on ECMO and received repair during bypass; nine survived (group 2), and five died (group 3). Compliance, dynamic compliance, and tidal volume obtained at initial presentation and immediately preoperatively were significantly higher for group 1 as compared with groups 2 and 3. Infants whose initial compliance was greater than 0.25 mL/cm H2O/kg and initial tidal volume was greater than 3.5 mL/kg did not require ECMO. Ultimate improvement in compliance was noted in 5 of 6 patients in group 1, 8 of 8 patients in group 2, and 5 of 5 in group 3. This improvement followed an initial decline in compliance in 9 of 14 survivors, from 15% to 76%. All six patients in group 1 had tidal volumes of more than 4 mL/kg, as did 7 of 9 patients in group 2. Only one patient among the ECMO nonsurvivors (group 3) had a postoperative tidal volume of this magnitude. These data suggest that initial PFTs may predict which infants will require ECMO. A postoperative tidal volume of more than 4 mL/kg may be critical for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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