The advantage of early plication in children diagnosed with diaphragm paresis

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In this single-center study, we sought to determine the frequency of phrenic nerve injury leading to diaphragm paresis (DP) in children following open cardiac surgery over the last 10 years, and to identify possible variables that predict the need for plication and associated clinical outcomes.


Patients diagnosed with DP were identified from departmental databases and a review of clinical diaphragm ultrasound images. A cohort was analyzed for predictors of diaphragm plication and associations with clinical outcomes. Cumulative proportion graphs modeled the association between plication and length of stay.


DP was diagnosed in 161 of 6448 patients (2.5%) seen between January 2002 and December 2012. All diagnoses but 1 were confirmed by ultrasound. Plication of the diaphragm was performed in 30 patients (19%); compared with patients who did not undergo plication, these patients were younger (median age, 10 days vs 138 days; P < .001), more likely to have undergone deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (47% vs 18%; P = .005), had a longer duration of positive pressure ventilation (median, 15 days vs 7 days; P < .001), and had longer lengths of stay in both the intensive care unit (median, 23 days vs 8 days; P < .0001) and the hospital (median, 37 days vs 15 days; P < .0001). Early plication was associated with reduction in all intervals of care.


Early plication should be considered for patients with diaphragm paresis requiring prolonged respiratory support after cardiac bypass surgery. Longer follow-up evaluation is required to better define the long-term implications of plication.

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