The object of a recent study from authors at Tufts University School of Medicine was to ascertain a connection between CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) survival and neurocognitive development. The study was published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery.

Patients were seen at Duke University Medical Center for CDH. Of the 43 infants seen, 63% survived the condition. Sixteen infants returned for school testing at an average age of just less than five years. Seven of the children who returned for testing were diagnosed with neurocognitive delay (NCD). Treatment protocols, including ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), mechanical ventilation and nitric oxide were all associated with increased risk of NCD.

Children with CHD are at a higher risk of NCD than healthy infants. The delay is maintained through infancy into early childhood and school-age years. Medical records pertaining to CHD treatments may help clinicians predict the risk of NCD.

Source: Benjamin JR, Gustafson KE, Smith PB, Ellingsen KM, Tompkins KB, Goldberg RN, Cotten CM, Goldstein RF. Perinatal factors associated with poor neurocognitive outcome in early school age congenital diaphragmatic hernia survivors. J Pediatr Surg. 2013 Apr;48(4):730-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2012.09.026.