JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgical management of infants with congenital lobar emphysema and concomitant congenital heart disease.

OBJECTIVE: Congenital lobar emphysema (CLE) is an uncommon cause of infantile respiratory distress. It is diagnosed on the basis of evidence of lobar overaeration, mediastinal shift, and compression of the adjacent lobe. Concomitant congenital heart disease (CHD) and CLE is not uncommon. In the literature a 12% to 20% concomitance rate is given. The optimal treatment of respiratory symptoms associated with CLE and CHD is not clear; however, there has been a great deal of progress in the treatment of CLE and CHD. The aim of this study was to evaluate a clinical experience with and long-term follow-up of the surgical treatment of 13 patients with concomitant CLE and CHD.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We reviewed the cases of 13 patients with concomitant CLE and CHD. The medical records were evaluated with reference to age, type of CHD, pulmonary artery pressure, clinical symptoms, and results of surgical management.

RESULTS: One patient died. This patient had ventricular septal defect (VSD) and left upper lobe emphysema in the postoperative period. The remaining patients undergoing follow-up were clinically well at the final evaluation. Postoperative thoracic computed tomography revealed complete spontaneous regression of emphysema 3 months after division of ductus arteriosus in 1 patient. Pulmonary hypertensive episode was seen in 3 patients after the early postoperative period. Five of the patients were discharged with bronchodilator treatment after surgery. Six patients needed positive inotropic support. Among the patients with pulmonary hypertension and those with VSD who had undergone cardiopulmonary bypass, we found a greater need for inotropic support, a higher risk of postoperative infection, and a longer intubation period. Echocardiography in the late postoperative revealed decreased pulmonary artery diameter and pressure; myocardial performance was normal. Results of blood gas analyses revealed increased oxygen saturation and decreased partial pressure of carbon dioxide. Normal exercise activity was found in all patients.

DISCUSSION: The presence of CHD, especially in infants with unusual respiratory distress symptoms, should be kept in mind, and echocardiography and/or cardiac catheterization should be considered in the diagnosis. In patients with high pulmonary artery pressure, palliative or corrective surgery for CHD in addition to lobectomy can be considered. We believe that for lesions without high pulmonary artery pressure, such as small atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale, clinical follow-up is sufficient treatment after lobectomy. If the cause of CLE is compression of large ductus arteriosus, only division of the patent ductus arteriosus may be considered before lobectomy and clinical and radiologic follow-up. The cardiac lesion should be assessed as to severity and ease of management. A corrective procedure can be carried out at lobectomy. Because of the technical ease with which the cardiac operation can be performed at the time of lobectomy, we suggest that in addition to lobectomy, operative treatment of cardiac lesions be performed.

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