Minimally invasive surgical techniques, specifically the thoracoscopic approach, have been applied to congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) with varying outcomes from selected centers. The aim of our study was to examine the rate of successful completion and compare outcomes between open and thoracoscopic approaches in CDH repair.
We performed a retrospective analysis of infants with CDH repair (From February 2004 to January 2008). Patients were divided into thoracoscopic and open groups, based on operative approach. We analyzed demographic, clinical, and hospitalization characteristics to compare the completion rate and outcomes in these two groups.
Analysis of 31 infants with CDH (14 thorascocopic and 17 open) demonstrated no differences in sex (P = 0.132), age (P = 0.807), birthweight (P = 0.256), weight at operation (P = 0.647), pulmonary hypertension (P = 0.067), preoperative intensive care unit (ICU) days (P = 0.673), ventilator days (P = 0.944), or use of a patch (P = 0.999) between the groups. Seventy-nine percent of thoracoscopic operative approaches were completed successfully. There was a significant difference between the open and thoracoscopic groups with respect to estimated gestational age (39 versus 36.5 weeks; P = 0.006) and operating room time (70 versus 145 minutes; P = 0.004). The total (P = 0.662), ICU (P = 0.889), and postoperative (P = 0.619) length of stay and days on ventilator (P = 0.705), as well as days until initial enteral feeds (P = 0.092), were not significantly different between groups. There were no deaths and no evidence of recurrence, with a mean follow-up of 346 days.
In our early experience, the thoracoscopic approach for congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair was completed in 80% of our patient population with minimal exclusion criteria. Further study, with larger sample sizes, is needed to ascertain differences in outcomes, such as length of stay and initiation of enteral feeding.