PURPOSE: Studying the timing of repair in CDH is prone to confounding factors, including variability in disease severity and management. We hypothesized that delaying repair until post-ECMO would confer a survival benefit.
METHODS: Neonates who underwent CDH repair were identified within the ELSO Registry. Patients were then divided into on-ECMO versus post-ECMO repair. Patients were 1:1 matched for severity based on pre-ECMO covariates using the propensity score (PS) for the timing of repair. Outcomes examined included mortality and severe neurologic injury (SNI).
RESULTS: After matching, 2,224 infants were included. On-ECMO repair was associated with greater than 3-fold higher odds of mortality (OR 3.41, 95% CI: 2.84-4.09, p<0.01). The odds of SNI was also higher for on-ECMO repair (OR 1.49, 95% CI: 1.13-1.96, p<0.01). A sensitivity analysis was performed by including the length of ECMO as an additional matching variable. On-ECMO repair was still associated with higher odds of mortality (OR 2.38, 95% CI: 1.96-2.89, p<0.01). Results for SNI were similar but were no longer statistically significant (OR 1.33, 95% CI: 0.99-1.79, p=0.06).
CONCLUSIONS: Of the infants who can be liberated from ECMO and undergo CDH repair, there is a potential survival benefit for delaying CDH repair until after decannulation.
TYPE OF STUDY: Treatment Study LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.