Predicting Full Enteral Feeding in the Postoperative Period in Infants with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

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The objective of the study is to examine the factors associated with time to achieve full enteral feeding after repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Materials and Methods

Demographic, clinical, and therapeutic data were retrospectively assessed, and uni- and multivariate Cox regression were performed to examine factors predictive of achieving full enteral feeding that was defined as time to achieve120 mL/kg/d after surgical repair.


Of 78 infants, 66 underwent intervention before hospital discharge. All infants who survived had reached full enteral feeding at the time of hospital discharge by a median of 22 days (range: 2-119 days) after surgery and 10 days (range: 1-91) after initiation of postoperative enteral feedings. Independent risk factors associated with a longer time to reach full enteral feeding achievement included gastroesophageal reflux and days of antibiotics in the postoperative period. Daily stool passage preoperatively predicted earlier enteral tolerance.


Infants who survive congenital diaphragmatic hernia generally are able to achieve full enteral feedings after surgical repair. A longer time to full feeding is needed in the most severe cases, but some specific characteristics can be used to help identify patients at higher risk. Although some of these characteristics are unavoidable, others including rational antibiotic usage and active gastroesophageal reflux prevention and treatment are feasible and may improve enteral tolerance.

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