The absence or incomplete formation of the diaphragm which separates the chest from the abdomen. This allows for protrusion of abdominal organs into the chest and limited development of the lung on that same side.

# Cared For
2004-2014: 136
Average Stay
57.3 days
Overall Survival


  • Breathing problems
  • Pulmonary hypoplasia
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Lymphatic problems
  • Feeding problems

Criteria for discharge

  • Recovery from surgical repair of the diaphragm
  • Stable breathing
  • Tolerating feedings
  • Gaining weight

Common Questions

Will my baby have surgery right away?

Years of experience have taught us that a CDH is not a surgical emergency, but a physiological emergency. Your baby will be eligible to go to the Operating Room once the blood pressure in the vessels connecting the heart to the lungs has decreased.

Will my baby be able to breastfeed?

Breastmilk is certainly the most easily tolerated nutrition to provide your baby. Feedings will likely start with a small tube that goes into the baby’s nose and down to his or her stomach.  We will use expressed maternal milk as available. Once oral feedings are initiated, breastfeeding is certainly possible.