Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Overview
Rady Children’s Comprehensive Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Center, which is part of our
top-ranked Neonatology program, is dedicated to providing the most advanced care for infants and children with this type of birth defect. Our multidisciplinary approach from a highly skilled team of specialists enables your child to receive the best possible treatment.
During this challenging time or a baby’s CDH, health professionals will be with you every step of the way, providing family-centered, compassionate and personalized care.
Infants and children treated at Rady Children’s Hospital have a survival rate exceeding the national average, with a greater than 95% survival for the last three years.
Infants born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia have a hole in the diaphragm, allowing abdominal contents to migrate up to the chest. This leads to underdevelopment of the lung and difficulty breathing after birth. Depending on the severity of the birth defect, including issues with abdominal organs and underdeveloped lungs, a baby’s CDH can be life threatening.
At our CDH center, your child will be seen by experts in their fields throughout their journey. If your baby’s condition is diagnosed prenatally, you will be seen in our Fetal Care Program by a specially trained pediatric surgeon and neonatologist to discuss the diagnosis and what to expect especially if your baby has severe CDH. After delivery, your baby will be transferred to the Rady Children’s NICU.
In the NICU, your baby will receive treatment to help them breathe and protect their lungs. For CDH patients who fail to respond to standard or innovative therapies, we offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) a form of life support used for patients with life-threatening heart and/or lung problems. Should ECMO become necessary, we have a dedicated team of ECMO providers at Rady Children’s Hospital to treat your child.
The medical and surgical teams work closely to determine the optimal timing of the surgical repair for CDH patients. After your child recovers, care will shift to include the developmental skills of your baby under the supervision of our physical therapists and occupational therapists.
After you leave the hospital, your baby will be seen by our renowned Pediatric Surgery program and the NICU Neurodevelopmental Clinic to focus on developmental care. Based on the individual needs of the infant at the pediatric surgery program, follow-up care for the baby’s conditon may also be scheduled with Pulmonary/Respiratory Medicine, the Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and the Dysphagia team.
Learn more about CDH and what to expect.
Why Choose Rady Children’s?
- 24/7 care by our attending neonatologists and pediatric surgeons to address all of your child’s medical needs (consistently top 10 rated neonatology program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report)
- ELSO Center of Excellence (designated by Extracorporeal Life Support Organization) which highlights our commitment to quality, patients and families
- Access to cutting-edge ultra-rapid genomic sequencing at Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine
- Prenatal diagnosis
- Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate CDH severity
- Support by nationally ranked heart and heart surgery programs
- Ongoing care coordination
- Advanced research by physician-scientists
- Highly trained family support team of physicians, social workers and therapists
- Chaplain support
Please contact our Rady Children’s Hospital Fetal Care Program Coordinator for referral information.