Background. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) has been cited to have a mortality rate of 50%. There have been multiple studies at individual institutions demonstrating potential benefits from various strategies including extracorporeal life support (ECLS), delayed repair, and lower levels of ventilator support. There has been no multicenter survey of institutions offering these modalities to describe the current use of ECLS and survival of these infants. In addition, the relationship between the number of patients with CDH managed at an individual institution and outcome has not been evaluated. Methods. We queried 16 level III neonatal intensive care centers on the use of ECLS and survival of infants with CDH who were treated during 2 consecutive years (1993 to 1995). Data are presented as mean ± SEM, median, and range. Results. Data were collected on 411 patients. Of these, 71% ± 8% were outborn and 8% ± 3% were considered nonviable. Overall survival of CDH infants was 69% ± 4% (range, 39% to 95%). The survival rate of infants on ECLS was 55% ± 4%, whereas survival of infants not requiring ECLS was significantly increased at 81% ± 5% (p = 0.005). The mean rate of ECLS use was 46% ± 2%. There was no correlation between the number of cases per year at an individual institution and overall survival, ECLS survival, or ECLS use (r = 0.341, 0.305, and 0.287, respectively). There was also no correlation between case volume at an individual institution and ECLS survival (r = 0.271). Conclusions. The current survival rate and rate of ECLS use in infants with CDH at level III neonatal intensive care units in the United States are 69% ± 4% and 46% ± 2%, respectively. There is no correlation between the yearly individual center experience with managing CDH and rate of ECLS use or outcome.
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