Diaphragm is a large muscle plate that separates the chest and abdominal cavity. Some children are born with an opening in the diaphragm through which a part of the intestine can protrude into the chest (see also hiatus hernia, and general information about the hernia).
When this happens, the intestines can compress the lungs, and the baby stays without a breath.
This disorder is usually revealed immediately after birth, and the diagnosis is confirmed by X-ray of the chest.
The surgical procedure must be performed as soon as possible. Baby’s chest is opened, intestine is inserted into its place, and the opening in the diaphragm is sewn. The operation is usually successful, and there should not be any long-term consequences if the lungs have developed normally while the baby was still in the womb.