Congenital diaphragmatic hernia

The incidence of congenital diaphragmatic hernia varies from 1 in 3500 to 1 in 5000 live births.46 Its etiology is unknown, although it is probably multi-factorial. The essential anatomical defect is a breach in the continuity of the diaphragm which allows herniation of the abdominal viscera into the thoracic cavity. This has a secondary effect of impeding development of the lungs during intrauterine life. The resulting hypoplastic lungs are a cause of significant morbidity and mortality in this condition. Compression by misplaced abdominal contents does not explain the severity of lung disease seen and it is well recognized that lung development is markedly abnormal in infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

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