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J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Jun;47(6):1053-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2012.03.004.

Does the ex utero intrapartum treatment to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation procedure change outcomes for high-risk patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia?

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Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



In the most severe cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), significant barotrauma or death can occur before advanced therapies such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) can be initiated. We have previously examined the use of the ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) to ECMO procedure (EXIT with placement on ECMO) in high-risk infants and reported a survival advantage. We report our experience with EXIT to ECMO in a more recent cohort of our patients with most severe CDH.


Every patient with less than 15% predicted lung volume during January 2005 to December 2010 was included. We obtained data on prenatal imaging, size and location of the defect, and survival.


Seventeen high-risk infants were identified. All 17 (100%) received ECMO and required a patch. Six children were delivered by EXIT to ECMO, and only 2 (33%) survived. An additional patient was delivered by EXIT to intubation with ECMO on standby and died. Of the 10 children who did not receive EXIT, 5 (50%) survived.


No clear survival benefit with the use of the EXIT to ECMO procedure was demonstrated in this updated report of our high-risk CDH population. The general application of EXIT to ECMO for CDH is not supported by our results.

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