Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program
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The Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program at Boston Children's Hospital is dedicated to treating and managing long-term follow-up care for children born with this complex health concern. With CDH, the diaphragm does not fully develop, which allows abdominal organs to go into the chest, preventing normal lung development. In many cases, diaphragmatic hernias can be successfully treated in newborns, and the outlook for babies born with CDH is increasingly positive.
CDH patients require follow-up care and treatment over time to minimize related health concerns, such as lung problems, breathing difficulties, gastrointestinal problems and growth and development concerns.
Children's treats more than 20 newborns with CDH each year, with a success rate among the best in the world. Children's survival rate is close to 90 percent, while the national average is only 50 percent.
When CDH is diagnosed or suspected during pregnancy, treatment is coordinated through Children's Advanced Fetal Care Center. Children also come into the care of the program when CDH is diagnosed after birth, and on an outpatient basis for long-term treatment.
The bottom line: If your child has CDH, you're in the right place.
Every incidence of CDH is unique in terms of its severity and related anomalies. At Children's, careful management of the mother's pregnancy, stabilization of your baby and postnatal treatment have resulted in extremely high success rates.
Care at a hospital like Children's that is equipped with extracorporeal membranous oxygenation (ECMO) is important. And, a group of doctors and scientists at Children's are working to discover genes that cause CDH and abnormal lung development in an effort to improve survival and quality of life.