Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) is a problem that babies are born with in which a portion of the diaphragm has not formed correctly. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity and it contracts every time you breathe. When a CDH occurs, the intestine, liver and other organs push up into the chest and prevent the normal development of the lungs. The lungs are smaller than they should be and the blood vessels in the lungs also don’t work well, frequently preventing blood to flow like it should through the lungs. This is called pulmonary hypertension. There are a number of tests and measurements that can be done as a fetus to assess the severity of the diaphragmatic problem.

Babies born with CDH can be very sick soon after birth and may need to go on a heart lung bypass machine known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. Usually the surgery to repair the CDH is done in the first days or weeks of life. Depending on how much of the diaphragm is absent, the repair may include placing a patch of prosthetic material where the diaphragm should be. Babies with CDH are often in the hospital for a long time after birth but we are there every step of the way with you, your baby, and your family to help make it as easy as possible. We are also there to follow up with you after you go home from the hospital. We will see your baby regularly and are always available as a resource for questions or concerns.

Our team has a multidisciplinary approach involving maternal fetal medicine doctors, neonatologists, pediatric intensive care doctors, ECMO specialists, cardiologists, and other doctors to take care of babies with CDH. We use the most up to date techniques and equipment to take care of these babies. We participate in providing anonymous data to a national registry to help with research on this condition.

Team Lead

Tory Meyer, MD, FACS
Pediatric Surgeon
Dr. Meyer has enjoyed the beauty of the Austin area since 2000 when he moved here with his wife and three children. In addition to a busy surgical practice, he has served as Surgery Dept. Chair and Chief of Staff and is the present Chairman of the Pediatric Leadership Board. Dr. Meyer is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Dell Medical School and is the Medical Student Clerkship Director. He is also a board member of the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center whose mission is to get children out in nature.