Morbidity After Elective Resection of Prenatally Diagnosed Asymptomatic Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformations

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The optimal management of prenatally diagnosed asymptomatic congenital pulmonary airway malformations (CPAM) is controversial. Since there is a paucity of data relating to surgical risks in this specific population, we reviewed our experience to further inform this controversy.


Ethically approved 10 year (2004–2013) retrospective review. Patients were included only if the CPAM was diagnosed prenatally and remained asymptomatic. Indication for surgery was physician recommendation and/or parental choice.

Main results:

Sixty patients were identified. Median age at surgery was 6.5 months (range 65 days to 9.6 years). Resections were performed thoracoscopically (n = 51, one conversion) or by thoracotomy (n = 9). Surgical time was 2.5 hr (43 min to 4.75 hr). A chest drain was used in 58/60 and remained in situ 53 hr (23–108). There were no intra-operative complications or blood transfusions. All patients were extubated at the end of the procedure with no re-intubations. Post-operative hospitalization was 73.4 hr (23.8 hr to 4.2 days). Overall, complications occurred in 14/60 (23%). Eleven were minor but three were major: tension pneumothorax associated with new presentation of a small previously undiagnosed diaphragmatic hernia 5 days following resection; aggressive fibromatosis of the chest wall in the region close to resection 2 years later; and near-fatal hypovolemic cardiac arrest due to massive haemorrhage from a feeding vessel on postoperative day 7. There were no deaths and no cases of pleuropulmonary blastoma.


Resection of prenatally diagnosed asymptomatic CPAM is associated with a significant risk of complications, which may be life threatening. These data contribute to a balanced discussion of risks and benefits for these children. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2016;51:525–530. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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