Pulmonary function and exercise testing in adult survivors of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Marieke G Peetsold, Anton Vonk-Noordegraaf, Hugo H Heij, Reinoud J B J Gemke

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Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is accompanied by pulmonary hypoplasia and structural abnormalities of the pulmonary vascular bed. It is unknown whether pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and gas exchange during exercise are impaired in adult CDH survivors. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and gas exchange during exercise and relate these findings with quality of life. Of the 23 patients eligible for this study, 12 adult CDH survivors (mean age, 24.3 +/- 4.1 years) with high-risk CDH agreed to participate. Pulmonary function tests, diffusion capacity, and a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) were performed. The FEV1 (mean z-score +/- SD; -1.30 +/- 1.37), FEF25-75% (-1.49 +/- 1.14), and the KCO (-1.03 +/- 1.24) were found to be lower in CDH survivors. The RV/TLC ratio (28.2% +/- 5.0%) was found to be higher. Despite these abnormalities, percent predicted work load (102% +/- 17.2%) and percent predicted maximal oxygen uptake (90.8% +/- 18.9%) were normal in most of the patients. The quality of life of CDH survivors, assessed with the SF-36 questionnaire, is comparable to the general population. Comparison of participants to non-participants did not reveal significant differences in clinical characteristics. In this first study assessing pulmonary function in adult survivors of CDH, mild airway obstruction was observed in most of the patients together with a slightly reduced diffusion capacity for CO. Exercise capacity and gas exchange parameters were normal in this group, indicating that patients do not have a physical impairment, as reflected by a normal quality of life of CDH patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-31
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction/diagnosis
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance/physiology
  • Female
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic/physiopathology
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange/physiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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