• Users Online: 152
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

 Table of Contents    
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 768-770  

Late-presenting bilateral congenital diaphragmatic hernia: An extremely rare confluence of two rarities

Department of Anaesthesiology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication17-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Justin P James
Department of Anaesthesiology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.147182

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
James JP, Josephine JJ, Ponniah M. Late-presenting bilateral congenital diaphragmatic hernia: An extremely rare confluence of two rarities. Indian J Anaesth 2014;58:768-70

How to cite this URL:
James JP, Josephine JJ, Ponniah M. Late-presenting bilateral congenital diaphragmatic hernia: An extremely rare confluence of two rarities. Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Aug 6];58:768-70. Available from: http://www.ijaweb.org/text.asp?2014/58/6/768/147182

   Introduction Top

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) occurs in 1 in 2000-4000 live births. [1] Herniation of abdominal organs into the thorax is associated with varying degrees of pulmonary hypoplasia and pulmonary vascular abnormalities, which chiefly determine the prognosis. [2] Bilateral Bochdalek hernias are very rare and have a very poor prognosis. Late-presentation of CDH (after the neonatal period), which is also uncommon, has a better prognosis than CDH presenting in the neonate. We present anaesthetic perspectives of an extremely unusual late-presenting bilateral CDH.

   Case Report Top

A 45-day-old female child presented with history of rapid breathing and poor feeding for 1 week. The patient was born out of a non-consanguineous marriage, by normal vaginal delivery at term. Her birth weight was 3.03 kg, and her Apgar scores were 9 and 10 at 1 and 5 min respectively. The mother's antenatal care was performed elsewhere, and she came to our centre only for delivery. She did not report any antenatal ultrasound scans. There was no record of any dyspnoea being noticed during the immediate post-natal period. The patient and mother were discharged on the 3 rd day after delivery.

On examination, child was dyspnoeic with a respiratory rate of 84 breaths/min and intercostal retractions, but her oxygen saturation (SpO 2 ) was 98% on room air and 100% with oxygen head-box. The heart rate was 170 beats/min, peripheries were cold and the child appeared dehydrated. Breath sounds were decreased on the right-side, and liver was not palpable per abdomen. The child's weight was 2.96 kg. A chest radiograph showed bowel loops in the right hemithorax and mediastinal shift to the left suggesting a diagnosis of right-sided CDH.

While the child was in respiratory distress, the oxygenation was adequate, allowing time for preparation. After providing oxygen via a tight-fitting mask without positive pressure bag ventilation, intravenous midazolam was given before trachea was intubated, nasogastric tube inserted, and patient shifted to paediatric intensive care unit (ICU) for stabilisation. A computed tomography showed bilateral CDH with kidney and bowel being the contents on the right, and spleen and gastric fundus on the left [Figure 1]. The liver was in normal position. An echocardiography done to rule out associated cardiac anomalies proved grossly normal, but no mention was made of pulmonary pressures. ICU management included fluid resuscitation, antibiotics for possible respiratory infection, mechanical ventilation (pressure-controlled synchronised intermittent mandatory ventilation, positive end-expiratory pressure 5 cm H 2 O, positive inspired pressure 12 cm H 2 O, rate 30/min, inspired oxygen concentration [FiO 2 ] 40%), and morphine-midazolam infusion for sedation.
Figure 1: Note the right kidney (x) and spleen (*) in the thoracic cavity

Click here to view

Patient was shifted to the operation theatre. Initial ventilator settings were as from ICU, subsequently adjusted to maintain end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO 2 ) at 30-35 mm Hg. Electrocardiogram, non-invasive blood pressure, SpO 2 , ETCO 2 , anaesthetic gas concentration and temperature were monitored. Anaesthesia was maintained with isoflurane in an air-oxygen mixture (F i O 2 60%), analgesia with boluses of fentanyl, and relaxation with boluses of atracurium. Patient had two 24-gauge peripheral intravenous access whose patency was confirmed. Maintenance fluid requirements were satisfied with 12 mL/h of 0.45% saline with 5% dextrose. Third space losses were replaced with Ringer's Lactate and blood loss with plasma and packed cells. Temperature was maintained using a forced air warming device.

During the 3 h laparotomy, both diaphragmatic defects were closed primarily. The contents on the right included kidney, ascending colon and small bowel; while on the left were the spleen and splenic flexure of the colon. The abdomen was closed primarily as the surgeons felt the rise in intra-abdominal pressure would not be deleterious. The patient was haemodynamically stable and did not have any desaturation.

After the surgery, the patient was returned to ICU for post-operative ventilation [Figure 2]. She had a prolonged recovery. Trachea was extubated on the third post-operative day, but patient required intermittent nasopharyngeal continuous positive airway pressure for 2 weeks before being well enough to be shifted to the ward. She needed oxygen via face mask for 12 more days. She was discharged in good condition on the 33 rd day from admission. She was stable on follow-up 2 months after discharge.
Figure 2: Post-operative chest radiograph

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

The prognosis in CDH depends on the degree of pulmonary hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension. [2] The timing of surgery is unrelated to survival. [3] Thus, patients are no longer rushed for emergency surgery in the hope of expanding collapsed lung segments. Instead, they undergo a period of pre-operative stabilization.

Bilateral hernias are extremely rare (0.9% of all live-born CDH) and usually have a poor prognosis [4] due to severe pulmonary impairment, and more associated anomalies. [2],[4] Late presentation, defined as CDH presenting outside the neonatal period, is also rare (2.6% of all live-born CDH). [5] However, these have a very good prognosis. In one series, there was 100% survival for late-presenting CDH. [5] The late presentation itself is perhaps a reflection of the minor nature of pulmonary impairment that allows the patient to remain asymptomatic longer on room air. In two analyses, only 1 in 79 (1.2%), [5] and 4 in 362 (1.1%) [6] cases of late-presenting CDH had bilateral pathology. This suggests that the incidence of a late-presenting bilateral CDH would be around 1-2/12.8 million live-births, making it the rarest of rare occurrences.

The hallmarks of good perioperative management reflected in this case are: Avoidance of bag-mask ventilation which can cause further pulmonary impairment by gastric dilatation; early nasogastric tube insertion for gastric decompression; pre-operative stabilisation including ventilation to optimise cardio-respiratory function; [3] avoiding barotrauma and pneumothorax [7] (classically of the contralateral lung) by limiting peak inspiratory pressures up to 25 cm H 2 O; using the lowest possible F i O 2 to maintain pre-ductal saturation above 85%; [1] and optimum sedation to prevent sympathetic-mediated rise in pulmonary vascular pressures. [8]

   Conclusion Top

The challenges we faced in this case were the extreme rarity of the condition, a very small infant needing fine balancing of fluid and haemodynamic status, careful airway and ventilator management, and prolonged respiratory support. Sticking to sound principles of perioperative management resulted in a good outcome.

   References Top

King H, Booker PD. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia in the neonate. Contin Educ Anaesth Crit Care Pain 2005;5:171-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Grisaru-Granovsky S, Rabinowitz R, Ioscovich A, Elstein D, Schimmel MS. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia: Review of the literature in reflection of unresolved dilemmas. Acta Paediatr 2009;98:1874-81.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rozmiarek AJ, Qureshi FG, Cassidy L, Ford HR, Hackam DJ. Factors influencing survival in newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: The relative role of timing of surgery. J Pediatr Surg 2004;39:821-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Neville HL, Jaksic T, Wilson JM, Lally PA, Hardin WD Jr, Hirschl RB, et al. Bilateral congenital diaphragmatic hernia. J Pediatr Surg 2003;38:522-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kitano Y, Lally KP, Lally PA, Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Study Group. Late-presenting congenital diaphragmatic hernia. J Pediatr Surg 2005;40:1839-43.  Back to cited text no. 5
Baglaj M. Late-presenting congenital diaphragmatic hernia in children: A clinical spectrum. Pediatr Surg Int 2004;20:658-69.  Back to cited text no. 6
Boloker J, Bateman DA, Wung JT, Stolar CJ. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia in 120 infants treated consecutively with permissive hypercapnea/spontaneous respiration/elective repair. J Pediatr Surg 2002;37:357-66.  Back to cited text no. 7
Roberts JD Jr, Romanelli TM, Todres ID. Neonatal emergencies. In: Cote CJ, Lerman J, Todres ID, editors. A Practice of Anesthesia for Infants and Children. 4 th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2009. p. 757-9.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Diagnostic post-natal d’un volvulus gastrique révélant une hernie diaphragmatique congénitale
A. Aprahamian,V. Nouyrigat,D. Grévent,E. Hervieux,G. Chéron
Archives de Pédiatrie. 2017; 24(5): 464
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded279    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal