CHENNAI: Six infants have been cured of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) in the past two months at Institute Of Child Health and Hospital for Children (ICH), Egmore. CDH is a condition where a hole in the diaphragm(the dome-shaped muscle present just below the lungs separating the chest and abdominal cavities) causes the intestines to enter the chest cavity. The congenital anomaly is extremely rare occurring in 1 in 2000 babies, with the survival rate also being extremely low.
“Since the intestines are pushed into the chest cavity, it prevents the lungs from expanding. This will cause severe breathing problems for the child. The intestine enters the chest from the left side due to which the heart(present on the left) will also be pushed to the right,” explains Dr. Muthukumaran, HoD, Department of Pediatric Surgery, ICH.
Further, the condition also increases the pressure in blood vessels to the lungs causing pulmonary hypertension. The children will also have a broad chest and a flat stomach due to this condition, he added.
The treatment typically involves lowering the blood pressure in pulmonary blood vessels following which the child is placed under an artificial ventilator to help expand the shrunken lungs. After both the pressure and lung size are normalized, the neonatologist hands over the baby to a paediatric surgeon who performs surgery to restore the intestine back to the abdominal cavity and seal the diaphragm hole.
“The mortality rate for diaphragmatic hernia used to be very high earlier with only 4 in 10 babies surviving.
However, with the advancement of technology this has improved exponentially,” says Dr. Muthukumaran.
Six out of seven babies have been successfully treated and are now progressing well, he said. The surgery was performed free of cost under the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme by a team of doctors at ICH.
The surgery would cost around Rs 3-4 lakh in private hospitals....