​Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia ​


A Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) is a disorder in which your baby has a hole in his or her diaphragm (the muscle under the lungs responsible for breathing). This happens when the diaphragm does not form completely during the foetal development.

CDH is congenital, meaning it is present at birth. 

CDH causes organs from the abdomen (stomach) to move into the chest. In most cases the intestines slip through. However, sometimes the liver and spleen can also go through. These organs create pressure on your baby’s lungs and cause difficulty in breathing. ​

The symptoms of CDH in children are as follows:

  • Troubled breathing because the child's lungs may be smaller than normal, or the heart might not be able to pump enough blood because of thickened blood vessels.

  • Blue tinge to the skin due to too little oxygen

  • Rapid breathing

  • Faster heart rate​

If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms at birth, consult with our expert doctors and nurses working with the Children’s Hospital Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

CDH can be diagnosed both during pregnancy, and after your baby’s birth. Some of the imaging techniques to diagnose CDH include:

  • Chest X-ray: To discover why your baby is having trouble breathing, your doctor working with the Children’s Hospital Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital, may ask for a chest X-ray. This is used to create an internal picture of your baby’s organs and can show that organs from the belly have moved into the chest instead. 

  • Ultrasound: Doctors may also take an ultrasound image of your baby’s heart, which is known as an echocardiography. This can help them find out the severity of blood pressure in your baby’s lungs which is causing the troubled breathing. ​

Treatment is for CDH is laparotomy, to move organs back into the belly and close the hole in the diaphragm. 

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.