Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

About Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) is a hole in the diaphragm which allows abdominal contents such as intestine to migrate into the chest cavity, causing respiratory difficulties. If CDH is present at birth, the mass effect of this condition can prevent full lung growth.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has a strict protocol for the management of children experiencing CDH. These children require immediate placement on a breathing machine or, if the condition is advanced, require placement on a heart/lung machine (called ECMO). Usually, CDH necessitates closure with minimally invasive or open-procedure surgery a few days or a few weeks after delivery. Depending on the size of the diaphragmatic hole, a plastic mesh may be necessary for closure.

Many babies with CDH have a normal recovery after leaving the hospital but require regular follow-up.