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J Perinatol. 2013 Nov;33(11):893-8. doi: 10.1038/jp.2013.47. Epub 2013 May 9.

Longitudinal neurodevelopmental and neuromotor outcome in congenital diaphragmatic hernia patients in the first 3 years of life.

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The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



The objective of this study was to longitudinally evaluate the neurodevelopmental (ND) outcome in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) survivors during the first 3 years of life.


The study cohort consists of 47 CDH survivors that were enrolled in our prospective, follow-up program between July 2004 and September 2010, and underwent serial ND evaluations during the first 3 years of life. ND outcomes were evaluated using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID)-II or BSID-III. Persistent ND impairment was defined as a score that remained 79 for the cognitive, language and psychomotor domains at the most recent follow-up visit compared with the first assessment.


The median age at first and last evaluation was 8 (range, 5 to 15) and 29 (range, 23 to 36) months, respectively. During the follow-up, ND scores improved to average in 17%, remained average in 60%, remained delayed in 10%, improved from severely delayed to mildly delayed in 2% and deteriorated from average to delayed in 15%. Motor scores improved to average in 26%, remained average in 55%, remained delayed in 8% and improved from severely delayed to mildly delayed in 11%. Intrathoracic liver position (P=0.004), preterm delivery (P=0.03), supplemental O2 requirement at day of life 30 (P=0.007), age at discharge (P=0.03), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL; P=0.004) and initial neuromuscular hypotonicity (P=0.01) were associated with persistent motor delays. No relationship was found between patient's characteristics and the risk of persistent cognitive and language delays.


(1) The majority of children with CDH are functioning in the average range by early preschool age, (2) most children who had early delays showed improvement in their ND outcome, (3) children showing delays in all the three domains were the least likely to show improvement and (4) CDH severity appears to be predictive of persistent psychomotor delays.

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