CC-BY 4.0 · European J Pediatr Surg Rep 2017; 05(01): e65-e67
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1607353
Case Report
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

An Unusual Complication of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

E Tian Tan1, Keren Sloan1, Kokila Lakhoo1, 2
  • 1Department of Paediatric Surgery, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 2Department of Paediatric Surgery, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Further Information

Publication History

17 April 2017

09 September 2017

Publication Date:
27 October 2017 (online)


A term newborn was referred to our unit with a postnatal diagnosis of a right-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). She was managed with high-frequency oscillatory ventilation, inotropic support, and nitric oxide, with planned surgical repair when she was medically optimized. On day 6 of life, there was an acute deterioration causing difficulty maintaining adequate ventilation and the infant requiring increasing analgesia and paralysis, especially during abdominal examination. A repeat X-ray showed distended bowel loops in the right hemithorax when compared with previous films raising suspicion of bowel obstruction. The infant proceeded to emergency laparotomy in the neonatal intensive care unit. She was found to have a right-sided Bochdalek (posterolateral) defect. The entire small bowel was within the thoracic cavity and appeared dusky secondary to obstruction caused by compression of a herniated right liver lobe against the hernia defect. Bowel perfusion improved after reduction and a BioDesign patch was used to repair the defect. The infant went on to have a straightforward recovery and was transferred to her local hospital for ongoing care on day 17. Bowel obstruction is an uncommon complication in the perinatal period in infants with CDH. A high index of suspicion for bowel compromise is needed in neonates who deteriorate acutely after a period of stabilization. Imaging should be obtained as soon as possible and early surgical intervention may be life-saving.