• Fifty-five patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernias (1966 to 1976) were studied and compared to 65 similar patients reported previously (1953 to 1963). The mortality was found to be the same in the two groups despite the fact that in the current series, patients were diagnosed and operated on at a younger age. Initial uncorrected pH value was found to be of prognostic importance. All babies whose initial uncorrected pH was greater than 7.0 survived and almost all those whose pH was less than 7.0 died, with the group in-between having a 50% chance of survival. Earlier operation and correction of acidosis did not substantially improve the chance of survival. Hypoplasia of the lungs and major cardiovascular anomalies contributed to death in a number of patients. Pulmonary hypertension causing a right-to-left shunt was responsible for the deaths of others and, therefore, the use of vasodilator drugs deserves further evaluation.
(Arch Surg 114:1118-1123, 1979)