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J Pediatr Surg. 2000 Aug;35(8):1187-97.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia: a meta-analysis of mortality factors.

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Department of Surgery, The National Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



The aim of this study was to review all available studies reported in the English-language literature from 1975 through 1998, and by meta-analysis assess the importance of prenatal diagnosis, associated malformations, side of hernia, timing of surgery, and study population on mortality rates in patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).


One-hundred-two studies were identified, and 51 studies (2,980 patients) fulfilled the prespecified inclusion criteria. Studies were grouped according to study population into: (I) fetuses diagnosed prenatally; (II) neonates admitted to a treatment center; and (III) population-based studies.


Pooled total mortality rate was significantly higher in category I than in category III (75.6% v 58.2%, P < .001). Pooled hidden postnatal mortality rate (deaths before admittance to a treatment center) in population-based studies was 34.9%. Prenatally diagnosed patients in both category II and III had significantly higher mortality rates than those diagnosed postnatally. Mortality rates were significantly higher among CDH infants with associated major malformations compared with isolated CDH in all 3 categories. An increased mortality rate in right-sided CDH was found in category II and III.


Prenatal diagnosis of CDH, presence of associated major malformations, and the study population have a major influence on mortality rate. The very high mortality rate in studies of fetuses with a prenatal diagnosis of CDH should be taken into account in prenatal counselling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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