Alternate Names : Hernia – diaphragmatic, Congenital hernia of the diaphragm
A diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that helps you breathe. The opening allows part of the organs from the belly (stomach, spleen, liver, and intestines) to go up into the chest cavity near the lungs.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
A diaphragmatic hernia is caused by the improper joining of structures during fetal development. As a result, the abdominal organs such as the stomach, small intestine, spleen, part of the liver, and the kidney appear in the chest cavity. The lung tissue on the affected side is thus not allowed to completely develop.
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is seen in 1 out of every 2,200 to 5,000 live births. Most affect the left side. Having a parent or sibling with the condition slightly increases your risk.
Pictures & Images
Infant diaphragmatic hernia
An abnormal opening in the diaphragm that allows part of the abdominal organs to migrate into the chest cavity, occurring before birth.
Diaphragmatic hernia repair – series
The chest cavity includes the heart and lungs. The abdominal cavity includes the liver, the stomach, and the small and large intestines. The two regions are separated by the diaphragm, the large dome-shaped muscle.
Review Date : 5/27/2009
Reviewed By : Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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