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Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

What is congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)?

The diaphragm is a thin sheet of muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest and it helps us breathe. A congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect that causes a hole in the diaphragm during prenatal development.

A CDH allows some of the lower abdominal organs to move through the diaphragm into the chest. The presence of abdominal organs in the chest puts pressure on the developing lungs. As a result, the lungs are smaller than normal (pulmonary hypoplasia) and do not function normally (a problem known as pulmonary hypertension). 

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The pediatric surgical experts at Children’s National in Washington, D.C., provide advanced, comprehensive surgical care for infants, children and teenagers.


Whether your infant has arrived prematurely or has a critical illness, the Children’s National Hospital top-ranked team assists in coordinating every service you and your baby need, including consultations, assessments, emergency treatments and continuing care.