SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has expanded their outpatient clinic for children with a congenital condition to ensure they receive specialized care close to home that they need all the way into adulthood.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is when a hole forms in the diaphragm while a fetus is developing in the womb.

This condition enables the stomach and other lower organs to push through and put pressure on the heart and lungs, which stunts a child’s development. A surgery is performed within the first week of the child being born, but that’s only one step in a long process to recovery.

“During surgery we move the organs back into place and seal the hole in the diaphragm, so everything stays in place,” said Katie Russell, MD, pediatric surgery at U of U Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “Because heart and lungs developed under the pressure of other organs, they can be smaller and strained. There’s a lot of work done after surgery and it’s why our outpatient services are so important.”

New data shows Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has the lowest mortality rate in the country for children with CDH, while treating the 5th most patients in the nation with the condition.

A major part of that success of this clinic has been the early prenatal care families receive at the Grant Scott Bonham Fetal Center at Primary Children Hospital’s.

Neonatologist such as Michelle Yang, MD, are a part of the care team at Primary Children’s for babies while they’re in the NICU – both before and after surgery.

Thanks to advanced understanding of CDH, changes to protocols implemented in the last several years have helped to focus the care a newborn receives before their surgery leading to better outcomes.

“These steps have shown an improvement in the babies overall health and reduced the need for more extensive measures of care,” said Dr. Yang, neonatologist with U of U Health and Primary Children’s Hospital.

Another advancement making treatment of CDH cases more successful is a new focus on the outpatient care model.

Physician associate, Kelsea Peterson, PA, who helps run Primary Children’s Hospital CDH Outpatient Clinic, says they’ve gone with a one-roof model, which brings experts to the patients in one clinic setting.

CDH patients need a wide range of care from several disciplines, so cardiology, pulmonology, nutrition, and other disciplines are all seeing and treating the patient at one time.

“By having everyone in the same location families get the care they need and don’t have to bounce from office to office for their critical follow up care,” said Peterson. “When all of the caregivers are under one roof it’s easier to communicate with each other and give the patient the best care possible.”

A process is now in place for those experts to treat patients in the clinic until they’re adults.

For more information on the CDH clinic at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, please call 801-662-1776.

Sponsored by Intermountain Health.