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Dedicated CDH Research

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital offers child and families who qualify the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking research studies conducted by the physicians at McGovern Medical School. Our team not only strives to provide unparalleled care today but we are fervently seeking the innovative therapies of tomorrow. We conduct basic science, translational, and clinical investigation with the sole goal of improving the lives of patients with CDH and their families.

Based on international data collected, 30 percent of children born with a diaphragmatic hernia do not survive, and in many cases these parents make the decision to donate tissue for research as a way to help future children with CDH. The risk of death is related to the size of the diaphragmatic defect, associated anomalies, and the lung development. Working to decrease that number, physicians affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital are actively participating in basic, translational, and clinical research to help children with CDH.

In an ongoing effort to provide optimal patient care, The Fetal Center and the affiliated physicians at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth have been granted FDA and institutional approval to offer fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO) for the prenatal treatment of severe CDH, aimed to demonstrate the Center’s ability to safely insert and remove the FETO device in severe CDH fetuses.

 A national leader in research, The Fetal Center is one of only three U.S. centers to hold membership in all three key maternal-fetal research networks: the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network, NICHD’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network, and the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet). The Fetal Center participates in ongoing research trials to advance medicine in the treatment of CDH and other conditions, with the goal of improving patient outcomes.

In addition, physicians within the division of General and Thoracic Pediatric Surgery are internationally recognized for providing state-of-the-art neonatal critical care and minimally invasive surgical repair of CDH. The care provided is based on data collected and new insights gained through the international Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Study Group and the CDH Registry, which reside at the hospital and medical school. In the 20 years that have passed since the CDH Study Group was founded by McGovern Medical School physicians, affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, the voluntary collaborative has gathered data on more than 9,500 babies with diaphragmatic hernia. The registry now represents centers in 14 countries. Information from this registry has been used in more than 40 CDH Study Group reports. These projects evaluated diagnostic and prognostic variables such as preductal oxygen saturation, defect size/anomaly association, and pulmonary hypertension.

Research trials under way include:

Medical journal articles authored or co-authored by physicians affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital (names indicated in bold) include:

  • Seminars in Pediatric Surgery – Volume 26, Number 3, June 2017
    Editor: Daniel J. Ostlie, M.D.
    Guest Editor: Kevin P. Lally, M.D., M.S.
    Elsevier, Inc.
    • Page 14 – Congenital diaphragmatic hernia: The role of multi-institutional collaboration and patient registries in supporting best practice (By Pamela A. Lally, M.D., Erik D. Skarsgard, M.D. FRCSC, FACS, FAAP)
    • Page 32 – Congenital diaphragmatic hernia-associated pulmonary hypertension (By Matthew T. Harting, M.D., M.S.)
    • Page 63 – Long-term follow-up of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (By Laura E. Hollinger, M.D., Matthew T. Harting, M.D., M.S., Kevin P. Lally, M.D. M.S.)