Are congenital diaphragmatic hernias life-threatening?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias are life-threatening. Early diagnosis and surgery can help lower mortality rate. Surgery is always needed to treat this birth defect. Neonatal intensive care before and after surgery is a critical component of the treatment plan. Because the infant's lung or lungs are likely to be damaged or underdeveloped they will need a ventilator or heart/lung bypass to help them breath. More than 80 percent of children with this type of hernia will survive.

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