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Diaphragmatic hernia

  • Alternative Names

    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.

    See: Diaphragmatic hernia repair - congenital

    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.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    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%.

    • Lung infections
    • Other congenital problems

    Calling your health care provider

    Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911). A diaphragmatic hernia is a surgical emergency.