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Historical aspects of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Abstract

The first description diaphragmatic hernia appeared in 1575. In 1848, Bochdalek described congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) occurring through a posterolateral defect. Successful surgical treatment of CDH in an infant was first performed in 1902, whereas the first neonate operated within 24 hours of life was reported in 1946. However, early surgery did not improve survival rates and the mortality was in the region of 50%. One reason for this was that more neonates underwent surgery who previously would have died without the repair of the CDH. Pulmonary hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension were early recognised as important reasons for the high mortality rate. In recent years, an enormous effort has been made by research groups all over the world to describe the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of CDH, and apply these findings to clinical practice. Attempts have been made to define prognostic factors. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has produced encouraging results. Fetal surgical therapy remains an option in selected cases despite huge technical and ethical problems. Recently, several new therapeutic methods have been suggested, such as high frequency oscillatory ventilation, partial liquid ventilation, nitric oxide inhalation, surfactant therapy, and fetal tracheal ligation. However, more experience is required before the value of these approaches is clear. Despite these efforts, the mortality remains unacceptably high. The challenge for the future is to continue development of therapeutic approaches in order to improve survival of neonates with CDH.

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Puri, P., Wester, T. Historical aspects of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Pediatr Surg Int 12, 95–100 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01349971

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Key words

  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Fetal repair
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary hypoplasia
  • Prognostic factors