Neonates with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) often suffer from respiratory insufficiency due to lung hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension. Artificial ventilation is frequently required, and this leads to a high incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Long-term follow-up studies have shown persisting airway obstruction. To evaluate the long-term pulmonary sequelae in CDH, we studied 40 CDH patients of age 7 to 18 yr (median 11.7 yr) and 65 age-matched controls without CDH and lung hypoplasia who underwent similar neonatal treatment. Mild airway obstruction was found in both groups with more peripheral airway obstruction in CDH patients than in control subjects. Both groups had normal TLC and single-breath carbon monoxide diffusion capacity (DLCO). CDH patients had increased residual volume (RV) and RV/TLC compared with controls. Increased airway responsiveness to methacholine (MCH) was common but bronchoconstriction to inhaled metabisulfite (MBS) was rare both in CDH and control subjects. We conclude that this group of CDH patients has minor residual lung function impairment. Mild airway obstruction and increased airway responsiveness to inhaled MCH but not to MBS suggest that structural changes in distal airways are involved and not autonomic nerve dysfunction. Both artificial ventilation in the neonatal period and residual lung hypoplasia seem important determinants of persistent lung function abnormalities in CDH patients.

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Journal American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
IJsselstijn, H, Hop, W.C.J, Tibboel, D, Molenaar, J, & de Jongste, J.C. (1997). Long-term pulmonary sequelae in children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 155, 174–180. Retrieved from