Being small for gestational age is not an independent risk factor for mortality in neonates with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: a multicenter study

A. Zenilman, W. Fan, R. Hernan, J. Wynn, A. Abramov, C. Farkouh-Karoleski, G. Aspelund, U. S. Krishnan, J. Khlevner, K. Azarow, T. Crombleholme, R. Cusick, D. Chung, M. E. Danko, D. Potoka, F. Y. Lim, D. J. McCulley, G. B. Mychaliska, D. Schindel, S. SofferA. J. Wagner, B. W. Warner, W. K. Chung, V. P. Duron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) accounts for 8% of all major congenital anomalies. Neonates who are small for gestational age (SGA) generally have a poorer prognosis. We sought to identify risk factors and variables associated with outcomes in neonates with CDH who are SGA in comparison to neonates who are appropriate for gestational age (AGA). Methods: We used the multicenter Diaphragmatic Hernia Research & Exploration Advancing Molecular Science (DHREAMS) study to include neonates enrolled from 2005 to 2019. Chi-squared or Fisher’s exact tests were used to compare categorical variables and t tests or Wilcoxon rank sum for continuous variables. Cox model analyzed time to event outcomes and logistic regression analyzed binary outcomes. Results: 589 neonates were examined. Ninety were SGA (15.3%). SGA patients were more likely to be female (p = 0.003), have a left sided CDH (p = 0.05), have additional congenital anomalies and be diagnosed with a genetic syndrome (p < 0.001). On initial single-variable analysis, SGA correlated with higher frequency of death prior to discharge (p < 0.001) and supplemental oxygen requirement at 28 days (p = 0.005). Twice as many SGA patients died before repair (12.2% vs 6.4%, p = 0.04). Using unadjusted Cox model, the risk of death prior to discharge among SGA patients was 1.57 times the risk for AGA patients (p = 0.029). There was no correlation between SGA and need for ECMO, pulmonary hypertensive medication at discharge or oxygen at discharge. After adjusting for confounding variables, SGA no longer correlated with mortality prior to discharge or incidence of unrepaired defects but remained significant for oxygen requirement at 28 days (p = 0.03). Conclusion: Infants with CDH who are SGA have worse survival and poorer lung function than AGA infants. However, the outcome of SGA neonates is impacted by other factors including gestational age, genetic syndromes, and particularly congenital anomalies that contribute heavily to their poorer prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1188
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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