Diaphragmatic Hernia

Diaphragmatic hernia is a congenital defect in which an opening is present in the diaphragm at birth. The diaphragm is the partition separating the chest and abdominal cavities. The abnormal opening allows some of the organs typically found in the abdomen to move into the chest cavity. In infants born with diaphragmatic hernia, the abdominal organs push up against the lungs. This prevents the lungs from developing normally. Diaphragmatic hernia is a serious condition with many potential complications and side effects.

  • Causes

    Diaphragmatic hernia is caused by a failure of the diaphragm to completely fuse during fetal development.

    Diaphragmatic Hernia—Stomach and Intestines Move into Chest Cavity
    Herniated Diaphragm
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  • Definition

    Diaphragmatic hernia is a congenital defect in which an opening is present in the diaphragm at birth. The diaphragm is the partition separating the chest and abdominal cavities. The abnormal opening allows some of the organs typically found in the abdomen to move into the chest cavity. In infants born with diaphragmatic hernia, the abdominal organs push up against the lungs. This prevents the lungs from developing normally.

    Diaphragmatic hernia is a serious condition with many potential complications and side effects.

  • Diagnosis


    Diagnosis is frequently made on prenatal
    ultrasound.


    If not found prior to birth, your doctor will perform a physical exam. A
    chest x-ray
    may be done to confirm the presence of abdominal organs in the chest cavity.

  • Prevention

    There is no known prevention for diaphragmatic hernia.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase the risk of diaphragmatic hernia include:

    • Chromosomal syndromes
    • Maternal alcohol use
    • Pregestational diabetes in the mother

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Severe respiratory distress, including rapid breathing, grunting, use of accessory muscles, and bluish tint to the skin from lack of oxygen
    • Asymmetrical or increased diameter of the chest wall
    • Concave abdomen

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes the following: