EPN 2022

Sophie Noelle Hackenbruch

Sophie Noelle Hackenbruch, Speaker at Pediatrics Conferences
Mater Dei Hospital, Malta
Title : Maternal and Gestational Risk Factors of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia


Background and Aim: Congenital diaphragmatic herniae (CDH) have a high incidence rate on the Maltese islands, but little is known about their associations and maternal risk factors. A nationwide study in a country where abortion is still illegal, allowing more data to be used, has been conducted to shed light on some possible risk factors of the development of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Materials and Methods: The study is a population based retrospective analysis including CDH cases from 1993 until 2016, which was gathered from the Directorate of Health information and Research Malta Chi- squared analysis and risk ratio was used to examine associations between cases and controls.

Results: 55 cases were reported between 1993-2016. The cases make up 0.0644 percent of the total births during that period. Advanced maternal age was more likely in CDH cases (p=0.01). 18.2 percent of CHD cases were born at 1500-2499 grams compared to only 6.2 percent of controls with a significance of <0.001. No significance was found relating to infant gender (54.5% vs 50.9% p=0.404) and none in relation to plural births (3.6% vs 1.3% p=0.333).

Conclusions: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia was found to be associated with advanced maternal age and low birthweights. It was also confirmed having a congenital diaphragmatic hernia increases your chances of having further congenital anomalies.

What will audience learn from your presentation?

  • Diaphragmatic hernias are still a common anomaly faced in NPICU. This study highlights the risk factors associated with diaphragmatic hernias allowing clinicians to preempt and be more cautious about a possible anomaly.
  • It is the only national research of its type in a country where abortion is illegal meaning no cases are lost, giving more reliable results.
  • More research needs to be carried out in causation and risk factors of diaphragmatic hernias, a study like this could open the doors to that.


Dr. Sophie Noelle Hackenbruch studied Doctor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Malta and graduated in 2020. She continued working at Mater Dei Hospital, Malta since 2020 as a foundation doctor. She has participated in many research projects and audits since starting her job. She is currently undertaking a level 7 diploma in strategic management.