Story by: Kim Huston on April 15, 2019
Diaphragmatic hernia is a hole in the diaphragm caused by a birth defect. The diaphragm is the large muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. In a diaphragmatic hernia, organs such as intestines, spleen, stomach and liver move through the hole in the diaphragm into a baby’s chest. A hernia is a condition in which part of an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity containing it.
The organs pushing through the hole in the diaphragm is defined as a hernia. This type of hernia can prevent a baby’s lungs from developing as they should, a condition known as pulmonary hypoplasia.
Children can become more at risk for other problems due to pulmonary hypoplasia, including:
There are two types of diaphragmatic hernia, including:
A diaphragmatic hernia can be diagnosed in the womb or after birth. If an OB/GYN suspects the condition, tests can confirm a diagnosis. A fetal echocardiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and more tests may be ordered. A baby with diaphragmatic hernia will be closely monitored in the womb.
A child can be diagnosed immediately after birth, with many of the same tests ordered, if he or she shows symptoms of the condition.
From the surgeons and anesthesiologists to the nursery and pediatric intensive care doctors and those who specialize in your child’s condition, every doctor at Norton Children’s Hospital specializes in caring for children.
Symptoms of a diaphragmatic hernia are often noticeable soon after a baby is born. Symptoms may vary based on how each child experiences them. A baby with a Morgagni hernia may or may not show any symptoms until later in life. Symptoms of a Bochdalek diaphragmatic hernia may include:
After the baby is born, he or she will begin treatment for diaphragmatic hernia. The following may happen: