ContentsSynopsisCodesDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsReferencesView all Images (2)
Diaphragmatic hernia
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Diaphragmatic hernia

Print Images (2)
Contributors: Benjamin L. Mazer MD, MBA, Mary Anne Morgan MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


A posterolateral opening or weakness in the diaphragm that allows abdominal organs to push into the thorax. Congenital or acquired, the herniation and subsequent crowding of the hemithorax causes breathing impairment, and in utero, interferes with normal fetal development of blood vessels and pulmonary airways. It may be diagnosed prenatally or noted within the first few hours of life when the neonate experiences respiratory distress. Characterized by dyspnea, absent breath sounds, and failure to thrive in the neonate, and in later-onset cases, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. Severe, life-threatening complications, including pulmonary hypoplasia and persistent pulmonary hypertension, pose an increased risk of death.

Prognosis varies depending on extent of organ damage. Factors impacting survival are associated cardiac abnormalities, prematurity, size of defect, hospital transport delay, pulmonary hypertension, and low oxygen saturation. Management focuses first on treatment of pulmonary hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension, then surgical repair.

For more information on congenital diaphragmatic hernia, see OMIM.


K44.9 – Diaphragmatic hernia without obstruction or gangrene

39839004 – Diaphragmatic Hernia

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Updated: 03/29/2017
Copyright © 2020 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Diaphragmatic hernia
Print 2 Images
View all Images (2)
(with subscription)
Diaphragmatic hernia : Abdominal distension, Cyanosis, Dyspnea, RR increased, Hypoxia
Copyright © 2020 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.