BACKGROUND: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in the neonatal period. Pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary hypoplasia are key pathological findings. Cardiac function may also be an important determinant of disease severity, prognostic indicator, and therapeutic target in CDH.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess ventricular mechanics and synchrony in infants with CDH and controls using speckle tracking echocardiography (STE).
METHODS: Retrospective analysis was performed of echocardiograms obtained in the first 48 h of life in 27 infants with CDH and 20 controls. STE-derived longitudinal strain (LS) was measured in the right and left ventricles (RV, LV). Circumferential strain (CS) and radial strain (RS) were additionally measured in the LV. Mechanical dispersion (MD), a measure of synchrony, was assessed by calculation of the standard deviation of time to peak systolic strain in six ventricular segments.
RESULTS: RV LS and LV LS, LV CS, and LV RS were significantly reduced in CDH compared to controls. In the LV free wall, LS and RS were significantly reduced in CDH. LV LS correlated significantly with RV LS in CDH cases (r2 = 0.37, p = 0.002), but not controls (r2 = 0.19, p = 0.06). LV LS also correlated with LV MD in CDH (r2 = 0.25, p = 0.01) but not controls (r2 = 0.02, p = 0.54).
CONCLUSIONS: Global impairment of RV and LV systolic function are present in newborn infants with CDH and are associated with primary left ventricular dysfunction, ventricular interdependence, and MD.