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Comparison between late-presenting and isolated neonatal congenital diaphragmatic hernias

C Plataras
I Loukas
N Baltogiannis
G Mavridis
E Papandreou


Purpose: Late-presenting posterolateral congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH) are anatomically similar to isolated neonatal CDH but are diagnosed and treated after the first month of life. We aim to characterise the clinical manifestations and short-term postoperative course of this entity and compare it with isolated CDH of the neonatal period.
Materials and Methods: In the 30-year period from 1980 to 2010, 116 children with CDH were treated at the Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece. Twenty-three (19%) of these children were late-presenting cases, being diagnosed between the ages of 1 month and 4 years.  Ninety-three were neonatal cases, of whom 22 (24%) were excluded due to severe associated anomalies, leaving 71 cases of isolated neonatal CDH. We compared these two groups of patients with regard to preoperative symptoms, postoperative hospital stay, time to complete feeding, overall complication rate, and reoperation rate. Results: Isolated neonatal cases presented more often with acute respiratory symptoms (n=25; P= 0.016) and failure to thrive (n= 38; P= 0.03). Late-presenting cases presented more often with chronic respiratory symptoms (n=14; P= 0.0044) or gastrointestinal symptoms (n=12; P= 0.006). Thirty-five cases with minor or serious complications were reported in the neonatal group, whereas only five complications were observed in the late-presenting group (P= 0.028). We did not record any recurrences or reoperations in the latepresenting group, but we had two recurrences and three reoperations in the neonatal group. Time to full feeds and postoperative hospital stay was shorter in the latepresenting group.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate differences between the two groups in preoperative symptoms and short-term postoperative complications and short-term outcome. Late-presenting cases of CDH had a greater number  of chronic symptoms preoperatively, more favorable postoperative  outcomes, and less recurrences and reoperations.