A retrospective study of 36 infants and children with diaphragmatic hernia was carried out. Mortality was confined to the group of patients identified between birth and 6 hours of life. Survivors appeared to be separable early in life from those who died on the basis of clinical status at birth measured by the Apgar, by ventilatory capacity of the lung reflected by carbon dioxide pressure and by acid base balance. Oxygenation, time from birth to surgery, maternal factors, and labor and delivery appeared to play no role in survival. Hypoplasia of the lung reflected in low lung weights in those who died did not correlate with initial clinical status or blood gas data. Surgical adjuncts to reduction and closure of the hernia did not appear to have an effect on survival. Definition of patients at high risk of dying will permit critical application and evaluation of modes of treatment beyond those now used regularly in the care of these desperately ill infants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas