BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of infants with giant omphalocele (GO) born in two different epochs over two decades at a single institution. Specifically, it examined whether the utilization of selective pulmonary vasodilators and extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) in the management of pulmonary hypertension in the second epoch were associated with improved outcomes.
METHODS: The medical records of all patients diagnosed with GO at a large children’s hospital from January 1, 1996 to December 31, 2016 were reviewed and divided into two epochs. Patients were classified as having an isolated GO or GO with minor or major associated anomalies. GO was defined as a defect more than or equal to 5 cm in size and/or liver in the sac.
RESULTS: During the study period, 59 infants with GO were identified. The duration of invasive mechanical ventilation was significantly shorter among the survivors from the second epoch (p = 0.03), with none greater than seven days. There were no significant differences in the outcomes of survival to NICU discharge and length of stay (LOS) between infants in the two epochs.
CONCLUSIONS: Infants with GO who required invasive mechanical ventilation for more than seven days did not survive in the second epoch. Survival did not improve with uses of selective pulmonary vasodilators and ECMO. This information could be shared with families during prenatal and postnatal counselling to facilitate informed decision making regarding goals of care.