Congenital Diaphramatic Hernia (CDH)

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect in which the diaphragm does not form properly, allowing internal organs such as the stomach and intestines to move into the chest cavity. It is estimated that one in every 2,500 babies is born with CDH, making it a relatively rare congenital disorder. With diagnosis and treatment of this condition varying greatly depending on the severity and location of the hernia, parents must understand all aspects of CDH. Understanding and awareness of this serious condition can help ensure better care for affected babies.

What is CDH?

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect in which an opening in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to enter the chest cavity. As the baby develops, the lungs do not have enough space to grow, resulting in underdeveloped lungs and other associated problems that can be life-threatening. CDH is usually diagnosed prenatally or during delivery. Treatment typically involves surgery and postoperative care. Other therapies may include oxygen therapy, respiratory support, and nutritional support. If left untreated, CDH can lead to chronic lung disease and other medical complications.

What are the different types of CDH?

There are three key types of congenital diaphragmatic hernias: Bochdalek hernia, Morgagni hernia, and Eventration. Bochdalek hernias occur when the left side of the diaphragm does not close during fetal development. Morgagni hernias involve a small opening in the front of the diaphragm. Eventration is an incomplete closure of the diaphragm, which results in the lungs not being able to fill with air properly.

What are the causes of CDH?

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is caused by a defect in the diaphragm, the sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. This defect can occur either because of a problem during development in the womb or due to an inherited gene mutation. In some cases, CDH can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to certain medications or chemicals during pregnancy. While CDH is more common in premature babies, it can also affect full-term babies. If left untreated, CDH can lead to serious health problems and even death.

What are the symptoms of CDH?

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect that affects the diaphragm, the muscle that helps control breathing. Symptoms may include rapid breathing, shortness of breath, cyanosis (blue skin), poor feeding, vomiting, and abdominal distension. Other signs may include a visible bulge in the chest area or belly button and an increase in abdominal circumference. In severe cases, there may also be abnormal positioning of the heart and lungs. Treatment typically involves surgery to repair the hernia and restore normal breathing.

When should you see a doctor for CDH?

It is recommended that anyone with a suspected congenital diaphragmatic hernia seek medical attention without delay. Symptoms include visible swelling in the abdomen, respiratory distress, and/or a blue tint to the skin. If any of these are present or if there is a family history of this condition, medical advice should be sought as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improve outcomes for those affected by this condition. Parents should also contact their doctor if they notice that their baby's belly looks larger on one side than the other.


Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a life-threatening condition that requires surgical repair. The repair process involves the surgical correction of the diaphragm defects and the closure of the abdominal wall defect. When successful, this surgery can significantly improve outcomes for affected infants and reduce their risk of long-term medical complications. With appropriate care, most children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia can live healthy lives. Through early diagnosis and timely intervention, physicians can help treat this condition and improve patient outcomes. With proper diagnosis and treatment, congenital diaphragmatic hernia can be successfully managed to improve the quality of life for those affected by it.

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

1. What are some possible complications associated with CDH?

Complications associated with CDH include pulmonary hypoplasia, pulmonary hypertension, and respiratory distress syndrome.

2. How is CDH diagnosed?

CDH is usually diagnosed on a prenatal ultrasound before birth. After birth, more imaging tests such as X-rays may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the severity.

3. Is CDH a life-threatening condition?

In some cases, CDH can be life-threatening due to complications such as pulmonary hypertension or respiratory distress syndrome. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to improving long-term outcomes for babies with CDH.

4. What long-term follow-up care is needed for CDH?

Long-term follow-up care for patients with CDH may include regular checkups with a doctor, imaging tests such as echocardiograms to monitor heart function, and pulmonary function tests to assess lung development and growth.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator