Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is an issue associated with the diaphragm. The diaphragm is used to separate the chest organs from the abdominal organs and is composed of muscles and other fibrous tissue. When the diaphragm develops abnormally before a baby is born, it can result in either a dilated diaphragm or the absence of a diaphragm. A hernia, which is caused by an irregular opening (an absent or partially developed diaphragm), causes the intestines and stomach to slide into the chest cavity and compress the lungs and heart. This congestion can result in pulmonary hypoplasia, which can cause life-threatening respiratory problems that are present from birth.

What is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)?

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect that affects the diaphragm, the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen. It occurs when an opening forms in the diaphragm, allowing abdominal organs to enter the chest cavity and interfere with lung development. CDH can range in severity, and associated complications include pulmonary hypertension, respiratory distress, digestive problems, and even death. Treatment may include surgery to repair the hernia as well as medication for related conditions. Careful monitoring of newborns with CDH is essential for early diagnosis and treatment.

What are the causes of CDH?

  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect caused by incomplete development of the diaphragm.
  • The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen.
  • CDH can be caused by genetic factors, such as mutations in certain genes or chromosomal abnormalities, or environmental factors, such as maternal infections, drug use, or exposure to certain chemicals.
  • CDH can also be caused by a combination of these factors.
  • In some cases, no cause can be identified.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing CDH and improving chances for a good outcome.

What are the signs and symptoms of CDH?

Infants with CDH may exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Lack of oxygen causes blue discolouration (cyanosis)
  • Weak breath sounds
  • Bowel obstruction-related constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Abdominal cavity
  • Barrel chest

When should one see a doctor for CDH?

If someone suspects they have a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, they should see a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve survival rates and quality of life; it is important to seek medical advice without delay. A doctor will be able to assess the severity of the hernia based on symptoms and may order imaging tests such as ultrasounds or MRI scans to make an accurate diagnosis. Treatment could involve surgery, medications, or lifestyle changes. Regular follow-up appointments with a doctor are essential, as the condition can become more severe over time.

What are the long-term complications of CDH?

  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia can lead to serious medical complications.
  • These complications may include cardiac, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and neuromuscular disorders.
  • In some cases, the hernia may cause reduced blood flow to vital organs, leading to a lack of oxygen in the blood and organ failure.
  • Abdominal contents may enter the chest cavity and compress the lungs or heart, increasing the risk of complications.
  • Surgery is typically required to correct this condition.
  • The surgery may have long-term consequences in terms of growth or development issues.
  • Untreated congenital diaphragmatic hernias can be fatal.


Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a complex and serious condition that can be treated with successful outcomes. The procedure for treatment involves the use of surgery to repair the diaphragm and may include additional treatments such as breathing support, chest tube drainage, or intravenous medications. With proper medical management, individuals affected by this condition can lead healthy and normal lives. It is important to seek experienced medical professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for congenital diaphragmatic hernia patients. With the right care, these individuals can expect a full recovery.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Hyderabad - Jubilee Hills. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How is a congenital diaphragmatic hernia diagnosed?

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is usually diagnosed prenatally through ultrasound, but can also be detected after birth via physical examination and imaging studies such as X-rays or CT scans.

2. What are the most common associated conditions with congenital diaphragmatic hernia?

Commonly associated conditions with congenital diaphragmatic hernia include respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pulmonary hypertension, and an increased risk of infections such as pneumonia and sepsis.

3. How is a congenital diaphragmatic hernia treated?

Treatment for congenital diaphragmatic hernia typically involves surgical repair to close the hole in the diaphragm and allow normal breathing to occur; if this cannot be done, medications may be used to manage symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce complications related to the condition.

4. How successful is treatment for CDH?

With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, many affected individuals can lead healthy lives with minimal long-term effects from their condition.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator