The long term neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed in 23 survivors born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia who had been managed by an elective delay in surgical repair after a period of stabilisation. This cohort was treated in one neonatal surgical unit between 1983 and 1989 by a single team of surgeons and anaesthetists. All children underwent comprehensive neurological, developmental, and anthropometric assessment at a mean age of 56 (range 18-94) months. Two children (9%) had major disability (one with hemiplegia and one with a lower limb monoplegia) and two further children had minor disabilities (one had partial sightedness and squint, the other squint only). The mean developmental quotient (DQ) for the group was 108 (SD 10.8) and none had developmental delay (defined as DQ < 70). Infants who had spent more time in hospital, or had had a longer duration of ventilation, tended to have lower weights and lower occipitofrontal circumference centiles in later childhood. Preoperative stabilisation and delayed surgery for congenital diaphragmatic hernia is not associated with an impaired neurodevelopmental outcome.
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