Plication of diaphragm for postoperative phrenic nerve injury in infants and young children

Y. Refaely, D. A. Simansky, M. Paley, A. Yellin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Paralysis of the diaphragm may cause life-threatening respiratory distress in infants and young children because of paradoxical motion of the affected diaphragm and contralateral shift of the mediastinum during expiration. Phrenic nerve injury (PNI) may follow chest operations. 10 children with diaphragmatic paralysis and severe respiratory distress underwent plication of the diaphragm. Ages ranged from 14 days to 5 years. 9 had PNI after operations for congenital heart disease and 1 after resection of an intraspinal cervical lipoma. The right side was affected in 7, the left in 3. Indication for surgery was inability to wean from mechanical ventilation, which had ranged from 11 to 152 days (median 35). 8 underwent plication via a thoracic approach and 2 via an abdominal approach. There were no complications directly related to the operation. The interval from plication to weaning from mechanical ventilation ranged from 2 to 140 days (median 4). 1 patient died 2 hours after plication due to severe heart failure and 2 after prolonged hospitalization due to sepsis and multi-organ failure. 6 were extubated 2-8 days (median 4) after plication and 1 only after 40 days. Early diaphragmatic plication is simple and avoids more serious surgery. While effective in ventilator-dependent infants and young children, it should not be used in those with multi-organ failure. Early plication may prevent the complications of prolonged mechanical ventilation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-193, 263
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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