Comprehensive Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Program

Being a distinctive, multidisciplinary initiative catering to patients of all ages, ranging from unborn child, through children, and into adulthood, we provide thorough and individualized care to patients across all age groups by fostering collaboration, developing expertise, leading innovation, and through a comprehensive research program.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Program

Being a distinctive, multidisciplinary initiative catering to patients of all ages, ranging from unborn child, through children, and into adulthood, we provide thorough and individualized care to patients across all age groups by fostering collaboration, developing expertise, leading innovation, and through a comprehensive research program.

UT Physicians CDH Pediatric Program

6410 Fannin St, Ste 470

Houston, TX 77030-3008

UT Physicians CDH Adult Program

6410 Fannin St, Ste 600

Houston, TX 77030-5206

Parking available at the UTHealth Houston Garage, 6414 Fannin St. Valet parking is also available.

What is CDH?

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a complex condition in which a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the chest cavity, affecting the development of the lungs and other organs. CDH can be a life-threatening condition if not treated by highly-experienced, board-certified, sub-specialist prenatal, neonatal, pediatric, and adult teams, before and after birth. While optimized care throughout the CDH journey can significantly improve quality of life, every step is unique and every patient/family is unique. Our comprehensive program, including a team of specialized experts, embraces the challenge of CDH and will walk families through every step – prenatal through adulthood.

Our Approach

  • Care for patients of all ages with an optimized transition from prenatal (before birth), to neonatal (after birth), to pediatric (children), and into adult care.
  • Constantly advancing the expertise and infrastructure necessary to care for all patients with this uncommon congenital anomaly
  • Identify and address common CDH challenges, before they become life-threatening conditions
  • Advance CDH research to help individuals of all ages with CDH
  • Enhance the scheduling of visits, obtaining/sharing imaging/labs, and leverage telemedicine when appropriate
  • Provide education that improves quality of life for those with CDH
  • Providing guidance to female patients, both those carrying a child with CDH and those who had CDH themselves, with unique needs and family planning/pregnancy journeys through the UTHealth Houston Fetal Center
  • Educate families about CDH care and how to choose the best care team for their family

About Our Care

Experience in care As one of the high-volume programs in the country, our multidisciplinary team delivers specialized care to more than 25 neonatal and pediatric patients per year, a significant portion of whom are high-risk or present with associated anomalies, including cardiac or chromosomal conditions, making the nuances of care particularly complex. At the UTHealth Houston Fetal Center, comprehensive care for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) begins immediately upon diagnosis. Our expert team ensures precise diagnosis, continuous prenatal monitoring, genetic counseling, and prenatal intervention tailored to the needs of each unborn child. As pioneers in prenatal CDH treatment, the UTHealth Houston Fetal Center actively engages in international research trials, offering the latest techniques for addressing severe CDH in utero.

With a collaborative and multidisciplinary team of both adult and pediatric experts, we ensure seamless care from prenatal and infant stages through adulthood. Our facilities are located under one roof and allow us to address unique challenges at different life stages, with specialists such as pediatric surgery, thoracic surgery, pulmonology, adult general surgery, and OB/GYN working together for optimal patient outcomes.

For children, surgical services are provided at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. For adults with CDH, surgical services are offered at Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center. All surgical services are provided by faculty physicians with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.

UTHealth Houston prioritizes family-centered care, engaging patients and their families in collaborative decision-making for optimal care plans. We offer families comprehensive information about CDH and involve them in the decision-making process from the outset. Our dedicated team of nurses and affiliated physicians collaborate closely to deliver top-quality care to our patients and their families.

We recognize the distinct health concerns that women with CDH may encounter. Whether it involves obstetric care during pregnancy or managing gynecological and internal medicine issues, we offer personalized and comprehensive support to address their individual needs. As women with CDH contemplate starting a family, we stand ready to assist in navigating the distinctive obstacles they may face.

We prioritize proactive care, understanding that every individual’s experience with CDH varies. Whether you require routine follow-up visits for persistent health issues, have encountered recent changes in your health, seek reassurance about your well-being, or simply wish to address questions and concerns, we provide tailored support.

As patients with CDH transition into adulthood, they may encounter specific health challenges that warrant specialized care. Adults with CDH face potential risks, including:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues: These may include gastroesophageal reflux, bowel obstructions, and other challenges related to the intestines such as constipation.
  • Respiratory challenges: These can include shortness of breath, pulmonary infections, or pulmonary hypertension, which can adversely impact a person’s quality of life.
  • Pregnancy planning: For female patients, specialized OB/GYN and internal medicine-related care may be necessary before, during, and beyond pregnancy.

Orthopedic complexities: Challenges with the spine, chest, and ribs are among the orthopedic issues that may arise in adult CDH patients.

UTHealth Houston faculty physicians actively engage in an intensive research program focused on the mechanisms and treatment to improve outcomes. This includes basic science, translational, and clinical research. This engagement in investigation allows our team to provide advanced care based on the very latest discoveries.

Our CDH team heads the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Study Group (CDHSG), a worldwide alliance of centers dedicated to monitoring CDH patient outcomes using a specialized international database. Thus far, this collaborative effort has tracked the progress of over 14,000 CDH patients, aiming to understand the impact of the condition, various interventions, and resultant outcomes. Hosted at UTHealth Houston and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, the registry encompasses centers from around the globe.

Patient Resources

If you require immediate medical assistance during regular business hours, kindly call (832)325-7463, and a nurse coordinator will promptly assess your medical needs. If deemed medically necessary, efforts will be made to accommodate you in a physician’s schedule on the same day.

For after-hours care, please contact (832) 325-7234 to connect with the physician on-call.

In the event of an emergency, please dial 911 or proceed directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For routine inquiries, kindly contact (832) 325-7288 to communicate with a nurse. The nurse will convey the information to your physician. Calls pertaining to routine requests will be responded to within 24 business hours, while those related to urgent medical care will receive a same-day response. You can also send your health care team a secure message in the MyUTHealth Houston patient portal.

For prescription refills, please request them through the secure MyUTHealth Houston patient portal or by contacting your pharmacy.

CDH Specialists

Adult CDH Specialists

Matthew T. Harting, MD

Matthew T. Harting, MD

Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgery

Ashley H. Ebanks, NP

Ashley H. Ebanks, NP

Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgery

Philip Rascoe

Philip Rascoe, MD

Thoracic Surgery

Brandy J. McKelvy

Brandy J. McKelvy, MD

Pulmonary Medicine, Sleep Medicine

Jerry Refuerzo, MD

Jerrie S. Refuerzo, MD

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, MD

Surgery - General