Birth is a wondrous miracle of nature… but even the beginning of a life can sometimes present challenges, like congenital malformations.
A relatively common malformation that has major clinical and surgical implications is congenital diaphragmatic hernia. This occurs when the diaphragm fails to close during prenatal development. This opening allows contents of the abdomen (stomach, intestines and liver) to migrate into the chest, impacting the growth and development of the lungs. The lungs will be smaller than expected, a condition known as pulmonary hypoplasia, and will have less developed blood vessels. This in turn causes high blood pressure in the lungs, also known as pulmonary hypertension.
There is currently a growing trend towards a multidisciplinary approach for congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which includes specialists in the fields of fetal medicine, neonatology, pediatric surgery, pediatrics and pulmonology. This comprehensive, multidisciplinary care results in high success rates, as this is a high-risk birth defect.