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Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia: Advanced Physiology and Care Concepts

Hartnett, Kathleen S. MSN, RNC, NNP

Section Editor(s): GREENSPAN, JAY MD; ZUKOWSKY, KSENIA RNC, PhD, CRNP

doi: 10.1097/01.ANC.0000317259.60954.d1
Beyond the Basics

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a defect in the formation of the diaphragm of the fetus. The diaphragm is the muscle and tissue that separate the chest and the abdominal cavities. In CDH, abdominal organs push into the chest cavity through the defect or herniation, compressing the developing lungs. During the past 10 years, significant changes have occurred in the diagnosis and management of CDH. Despite advances in postnatal care, infants born with a CDH continue to suffer substantial morbidity and mortality. Healthcare providers continue to research therapeutic approaches that will improve the care and optimize survival in these infants. The purpose of this article is to offer an in-depth exploration of neonatal physiology and pathophysiology, providing advanced concepts that expand the scientific basis for neonatal care practices.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Service, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston.

Address for correspondence: Kathleen S. Hartnett, MSN, RNC, NNP, 3408 Parkside Drive Pearland, Texas 77584; hartnett_ck@sbcglobal.net.

© 2008 National Association of Neonatal Nurses