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Team Approach to CDH Care

The Comprehensive CDH Care Program at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital offers a team approach to congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) care. From prenatal diagnosis through the school-age years, our multidisciplinary team of SLUCare Physician Group experts provides ongoing support to our CDH patients to ensure continuity of care as they grow and develop.

At SSM Health Cardinal Glennon, CDH Families have access to:

  • National leaders in neonatology and pediatric gastroenterology/GI surgery.
  • The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute, one of the nation’s leading fetal surgery and care centers, along with one of the the largest, most experienced team of maternal fetal medicine specialists in the region.
  • State-of-the-art facilities at one of the highest volume CDH care centers in the region.
  • A dedicated ECMO team that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • An innovative nursery follow-up program, which includes a pediatric neurologist, a psychologist, a speech therapist, a physical therapist, a social worker, a nutritionist, a pediatric ophthalmologist, audiologist and pediatric nurse practitioner who assist in the transition home from the NICU.

Comprehensive CDH Care Starts Before Delivery

Often, families first meet with the team of experts from the Comprehensive CDH Care Program while their baby is still in the womb, during their initial appointments at the SSM Health St. Louis Fetal Care Institute.

Families can plan to meet with:

  • Maternal-fetal medicine specialists who monitor both mom and baby to provide state-of-the-art prenatal care
  • Neonatologists who provide care at the time of delivery and during the first months of life
  • Pediatric surgeons who perform the surgical repair of the diaphragmatic defect, as well as any other related procedures
  • A member of the Comprehensive CDH Care Program who will assist in coordinating care throughout the patient’s time at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon
  • A medical support team that includes nurses, social workers, genetic counselors and more to assist the family throughout the process

During the prenatal stage, you and your baby are closely monitored. This experienced team of medical specialists uses the latest imaging techniques to better understand the unique aspects of your baby’s CDH. In addition to monitoring, a delivery plan is developed based on the severity of your baby’s CDH. The goal is to allow your baby to develop in the womb as long as possible.

CDH Care After Delivery

After delivery, the surgeons and neonatologists will work closely together to finalize a plan that is best for your baby. As parents, we recognize that your role is critical to the healing and recovery of your baby, and we actively involve you with the care plan.

During the baby’s stay in the NICU, a CDH Care Program coordinator will work closely with you, the neonatologists, the pediatric surgery team and other specialists necessary to provide an unparalleled level of ongoing care.

Follow-up CDH Care

After the baby is discharged from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon, a CDH Care Program coordinator will assist with scheduling follow-up clinic appointments and coordinating future medical procedures or surgeries that may be needed.

Follow-up appointments will include involvement with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon’s Nursery Follow-up Program. This team of medical professionals, which includes a pediatric neurologist, a pediatric nurse practitioner, a psychologist, a speech therapist, a physical therapist, a social worker, a nutritionist, a pediatric ophthalmologist, and an audiologist assists in the transition home from the NICU. They also provide developmental testing from birth to 24-months, and work with the family’s pediatrician as your child grows and develops.

The CDH Care Program coordinator also serves as a resource for families who have questions or need assistance with the care of their child as they develop. This continuum of care ensures that the specialists working with our CDH patients know the intricacies of each child’s unique medical situation and can provide the best level of care throughout childhood and beyond.

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