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Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)

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Several conditions (such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia), can cause the baby’s diaphragm to develop abnormally. Surgery is required to repair this dome shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. Under general anesthesia, surgeons at Advanced Pediatric Surgical Specialists may repair the defect or hole thoracoscopically (through the chest), laparscopically, or with a small chest or abdominal incision. Often, this condition can be detected while the baby is still in the womb, allowing the family and medical team time to develop a plan for treatment after birth. To learn more about treatment for congenital diaphragmatic hernia, please call 407.303.7280 or request an appointment on our website.

Symptoms of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Babies may have trouble breathing because their lungs may be smaller than normal, their hearts may not be able to pump blood easily to the lungs because the walls of the blood vessels are too thick, or their lungs may be moved to one side by organs that slip through the hole between the belly and chest.

Babies with CDH may also have these symptoms:

  • Skin that is bluish in color due to too little oxygen
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Causes and Risk Factors of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
  • CDH is a congenital condition that is present at birth. Genetics and heredity may play a part in the development of this condition.

Tests to Diagnose Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

CDH is typically detected during a routine ultrasound test at 16 to 18 weeks gestation. Tests to diagnose this condition may include a high-definition ultrasound, a fetal MRI, fetal chromosome studies and a fetal echocardiogram.

Surgical Procedures for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

There are several options for surgery. The choice will depend on your child’s condition. In some cases, surgery may be performed using a thin, lighted tube with a camera attached, called a thoracoscope. This allows the surgeon to make a few small incisions and insert the tube and surgical tools in order to complete the procedure. For other children, a small incision may be made in the chest or abdomen in order to perform the surgery. After removing the organs, the surgeon will sew up the hole in the diaphragm, or attach a patch to close the hole.

To learn more about treatment for congenital diaphragmatic hernia, please call 407.303.7280 or request an appointment on our website.