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Hernia - diaphragmatic; Congenital hernia of the diaphragm
A diaphragmatic hernia is an emergency that requires surgery. Surgery is done to place the abdominal organs into the proper position and repair the opening in the diaphragm.
The infant will need breathing support until he or she recovers from surgery. Some infants are placed on a heart/lung bypass machine, which gives the lungs a chance to recover and expand after surgery.
If a diaphragmatic hernia is diagnosed during pregnancy (around 24 to 28 weeks), fetal surgery may be considered.
The outcome of surgery depends on how well the baby's lungs have developed and also on whether there are any other congenital problems. Usually the outlook is very good for infants who have enough lung tissue and have no other problems.
With advances in neonatal and surgical care, survival is now greater than 80%.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911). A diaphragmatic hernia is a surgical emergency.
Ehrlich PF, Coran AG. Diaphragmatic hernia. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 101.
Keijzer R, Puri P. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Semin Pediatr Surg 2010 Aug; 19(3): 180-5.
Puri P, Nakazawa N. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia. In: Puri P, Hollworth M, eds. Pediatric surgery: diagnosis and management. Springer, 2009: chapter 31.
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