Antenatal Diagnosis of Diaphragmatic Hernia: Parents' Emotional and Cognitive Reactions

Lucia Aite, Alessandro Trucchi, Antonella Nahom, Germana Casaccia, Antonio Zaccara, Claudio Giorlandino, Pietro Bagolan, F. Leditschke, L. Aite, J. Tovar, [No Value] Kokkonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess parent's emotional and cognitive reactions to the prenatal diagnosis of diaphragmatic hernia in their prospective children. Methods: A survey was conducted by means of a questionnaire. In the period ranging from 1997 to 2002, 40 couples in whom an established diagnosis of diaphragmatic hernia was made in their fetus were seen for prenatal consultation at a tertiary referral center. Results: Overall response rate was 93% (37 couples). Mean period since diagnosis for compilation of the questionnaire was 2 weeks. Mean gestational age at diagnosis was 25 weeks (range, 16 to 35 weeks). All parents lacked prediagnostic knowledge of diaphragmatic hernia and consider a single consultation with the paediatric surgeon inadequate to have a clear understanding of the anomaly. Only 1 mother and 1 father reported they understood all the information given by the surgeon, The most frequent (75%) feeling during and after the consultation was fear. Most parents (70%) referred to the intense emotions as the factor that made it difficult to follow the surgeon's explanations as well as to ask questions. Conclusions: Because of the incompatibility of emotional distress and optimum learning, impairment of early comprehension of information about diaphragmatic hernia is unavoidable. Therefore, we believe that follow-up antenatal consultations and provision of written and visual illustration are extremely important to facilitate informed choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-178
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Parental anxiety
  • Prenatal diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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