Objective: To evaluate lung function and respiratory morbidity prospectively during the first year of life in patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia and to study the effect of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation therapy.
Design: Prospective longitudinal cohort study.
Setting: Outpatient clinic of a tertiary-level pediatric hospital.
Patients: The cohort of 43 infants included 12 patients treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Evaluation was at 6 and 12 months; 33 infants were evaluated at both time points.
Measurements and Main Results: Maximal expiratory flow at functional residual capacity and functional residual capacity were measured with Masterscreen Babybody. Z-scores were calculated for maximal expiratory flow at functional residual capacity. Mean maximal expiratory flow at functional residual capacity values at 6 and 12 months were significantly below the expected values (mean z-score −1.4 and −1.5, respectively) without a significant change between both time points. Values did not significantly differ between extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and nonextracorporeal membrane oxygenation-treated patients. Functional residual capacity values were generally high, 47% were above the suggested normal range, and did not change significantly over time. Mean functional residual capacity values in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-treated patients were significantly higher than in nonextracorporeal membrane oxygenation-treated patients (p = .006). The difference (5.1 mL/kg ± 1.8 SE) did not change significantly between the two time points. Higher mean airway pressure and longer duration of ventilation were associated with higher functional residual capacity. None of the perinatal characteristics was associated with maximal expiratory flow at functional residual capacity. Mean weight z-scores were significantly below zero at both time points (p < .001). Mean weight z-score in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-treated patients were lower than in nonextracorporeal membrane oxygenation-treated patients (p = .046).
Conclusions: Infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia have decreased expiratory flows and increased functional residual capacity within the first year of life. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation-treated patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia may have more respiratory morbidity and concomitant growth impairment. Close follow-up beyond the neonatal period is therefore required.