Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program
Columbia’s Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program, located in NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, offers long-term, multidisciplinary care for children born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a life-threatening condition. Our program brings together a team of experts to provide the highest level of care for children who were born with CDH, and support for families dealing with this diagnosis.
CDH develops in the womb, when the diaphragm muscle does not form properly, leaving an opening allowing gastrointestinal organs to move up into the chest, preventing normal function of the lungs and sometimes the heart. CDH is diagnosed prenatally and babies with this condition will often need breathing support and surgery soon after birth.
Our Approach to CDH
CDH requires multidisciplinary care. The Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program brings together the vast expertise of Columbia's pediatric specialists, including a pediatric surgeon, neonatologist, cardiologist with special expertise in pulmonary hypertension, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, orthopedist, developmental pediatrician, and psychologist. We work closely with your child and your family to ensure the best possible treatment and care as your child grows.
If your baby is diagnosed prenatally with CDH through an ultrasound and other tests, you will receive care at Columbia’s Center for Prenatal Pediatrics, a multidisciplinary center dedicated to the care of mothers and babies with high-risk conditions. Your baby's birth will take place at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, where physicians are world-renowned for their expertise with the most high-risk births and complicated newborn conditions.
Newborns with CDH have underdeveloped lungs and need immediate breathing support with a ventilator. NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospitalis a center of excellence for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a mechanical life support system that completely takes over your baby’s breathing. ECMO is a life-saving support for some infants with CDH who need surgery before they can breathe independently.
All children with CDH require long-term monitoring throughout childhood and beyond to ensure proper development after the hernia has been closed. Through regular follow up appointments, we will monitor your child's growth, lung development, heart, nutritional status and general health, along with the overall well-being of your child as he or she grows.
What to Expect From an Outpatient Visit
When you schedule a follow up care appointment with the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program, you can expect to spend several hours and visit multiple physicians, who will be consulting with each other during your visit about your child's care. Your child may undergo one or more tests during the appointment as well. Physicians from our program who your child may see include:
- Neonatologist: Newborns with CDH will be monitored closely by one of our neonatologists following surgery for CDH.
- Pulmonologist: Many children with CDH have respiratory issues. A pulmonologist will regularly check your child's lung health and function.
- Cardiologist: You can expect that your child will receive a full cardiac exam, including some tests, along with follow up care when needed.
- Gastroenterologist: Children with CDH can experience a range of gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including difficulty feeding, reflux, abdominal pain, constipation, and bowel obstruction. Our experts will closely monitor your child's GI system throughout childhood.
- Orthopedist: Children with CDH are at risk for scoliosis and chest wall deformity. Our orthopedist will regularly monitor your child for these conditions.
- Psychologist: Coping with CDH can be extremely challenging for a family. Our psychologist can help your child and family find services and resources they need to care for a child with this condition.