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Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program

Columbia’s Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Program at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to managing complex medical conditions that may develop in children born with CDH, a life-threatening abnormality.

CDH occurs while the fetus is forming in the womb. The diaphragm muscle does not form completely, leaving an opening in the chest cavity. This allows the intestines to move up into the chest, impairing function of the lungs, and, sometimes, the heart.

Our CDH Program brings together a team of pediatric specialists, including surgeons, neonatologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, orthopedists, developmental pediatricians, and psychologists.

Columbia’s Division of Pediatric Surgery leads a multidisciplinary CDH outcomes clinic in which children discharged from the hospital are followed by pediatric specialists in surgery, cardiology, gastroenterology, and neurodevelopmental in one setting. Consultation from pulmonology and orthopedics is provided as needed. With more survivors of CDH living today than ever before, many associated long-term health care issues are being unmasked. By anticipating such challenges and offering integrated care, we can approach these problems proactively to improve long-term outcomes.

In addition, we lead innovative research on CDH and how to better diagnose, treat, and prevent the condition. To this end, Columbia University Medical Center coordinates the multi-center DHREAMS study—Diaphragmatic Hernia Research & Exploration; Advancing Molecular Science—created to improve understanding of the molecular genetic basis of CDH. This study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and brings together a research team of healthcare providers from across the United States.