• Congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDHs) presenting beyond the neonatal period are a rare and unusual problem; they occurred in 11 of 83 children at our institution. Two discrete clinical groups were apparent: (1) younger children, with mainly respiratory symptoms; and (2) older children with gastrointestinal (GI) complaints. Chest roentgenograms suggested CDHs, but GI contrast studies were necessary for confirmation in eight patients. The diagnosis was made preoperatively in ten of 11 children. At operation, no peritoneal sacs were found, the hernial contents were viable in all patients, and malrotation was present in six of 11 patients. None had evidence of pulmonary hypoplasia. Congenital diaphragmatic hernias do present beyond the neonatal age group in a significant number of cases (13% in our series), and a diagnosis of CDH should be considered in any child with persistent GI or respiratory problems and abnormal chest x-ray film findings. The mortality rate in these patients is small, but morbidity may be significant.
(Arch Surg 1986;121:813-816)