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Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Sep;96(3):938-42. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.05.057. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

Course, predictors of diaphragm recovery after phrenic nerve injury during pediatric cardiac surgery.

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1
Pediatric Division of Cardiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA. smithb@peds.ucsf.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hemidiaphragm paralysis from phrenic nerve injury is a known complication of congenital cardiac surgery. Return of diaphragm function has been reported; however, prior studies on this subject have been limited by small numbers, static assessment methods, or observation of plicated or non-plicated patients alone. To describe return of function, we reviewed fluoroscopy and ultrasonography in all diagnosed cases of diaphragmatic paralysis.

METHODS:

Surgical cases at our institution between 1991 and 2010 were identified for patients with postoperative hemidiaphragm paralysis diagnosed by chest X-ray, ultrasound, or fluoroscopy. Follow-up ultrasound and fluoroscopic studies were reviewed for return of diaphragm function.

RESULTS:

Seventy-two cases of postoperative hemidiaphragm paralysis were identified. Forty cases were plicated prior to discharge. Plicated patients were younger at time of diagnosis (median 46 days average 3.6 months; p=0.025) and had a larger proportion of single ventricle diagnoses (48% vs 16%) compared with non-plicated patients. Twenty-six patients with paralysis were excluded in follow-up due to lack of studies documenting diaphragm function after the diagnostic study. Of the remaining 46 cases, median follow-up was 353 days (range: 6 days to 17 years). Plicated and non-plicated patients regained function at similar frequency (60% and 54.8%, respectively). Plication status, Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery (RACHS) 1 score, age at diagnosis, and side of paralysis did not predict failure of recovery.

CONCLUSIONS:

In the current era, return of diaphragm function after phrenic nerve injury sustained during congenital cardiac surgery is a known occurrence; however, predicting recovery continues to be difficult.

KEYWORDS:

18; 6

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