Closer Look at the Nutritional Outcomes of Patients After Primary Repair of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

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We hypothesize that the patients after primary repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) can have poor nutritional outcomes and plan to identify risk factors to further stratify these patients.


Retrospective cohort of patients who had primary repair of CDH between 2000 and 2014 and had follow-up at our institution. Z scores (weight for age and weight for length) were calculated using the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth standards.


For the 67 patients in the cohort, the median age at the time of repair was 3 days (interquartile range 2–5) and at the time of discharge was 20.5 days (interquartile range 16–30). Fifteen percent of the patients required supplemental tube feeding for inadequate oral intake and 69% required fortified feedings for inadequate growth at discharge (4 patients subsequently needed gastrostomy tube placement). The median z scores at discharge were −1.0 (−2.1 to −0.3) and −1.2 (−2.3 to −0.5) in weight for age and weight for length, respectively. The risk factors for low z scores included open repair and longer periods of postoperative intubation or hospitalization. The z scores were similar at 6 months of age compared to discharge, but then statistically improved at 12 months of age.


Patients with primary repair of CDH are at risk for poor nutritional outcomes at the time of hospital discharge and require follow-up to ensure adequate growth. Patients at highest risk are those who had an open repair and had prolonged intubation or hospitalization.

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