MCH pediatric surgeons develop new app for congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Dr Pramod Puligandla, Dr Kathryn LaRusso

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a "hole" in the diaphragm muscle through which the intestines can move into the chest. Advances in neonatal care have improved survival rates in the last 30 years, but survivors can experience significant long-term health issues that affect feeding, growth, and brain development.

Dr. Pramod Puligandla, Pediatric Surgeon and Pediatric Intensivist at the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH), was the project lead of the Canadian Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Collaborative that recently developed a guideline for standardized CDH management. The guideline was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) in January 2018.

Building on what was achieved with the CDH Guideline, Dr. Puligandla and Dr. Kathryn LaRusso, Research Fellow in the Department of Pediatric Surgery at the MCH, worked with Montreal-based Stradigi AI to develop an app that would provide healthcare professionals with a comprehensive tool to assist management decisions related to CDH care.

The main features of the app include rapid access to recommendations and evidence summaries for all phases of CDH care from prenatal diagnosis to hospital discharge and follow-up; links to medical calculators for key patient data; a daily ICU rounding checklist and flowsheet; a guideline compliance checklist for quality improvement; and access to the full guideline document with expanded discussions and a complete set of references. The app is also an excellent resource for teaching and education during patient care rounds.

“The goal of the CDH Guideline was to improve outcomes for children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia by standardizing care across Canada," says Dr. Puligandla. “Managing CDH requires the expertise of a variety of specialists as well as primary care physicians, and the app provides easy access to tools and resources useful to all clinicians involved in the care of children with CDH."

Support for the app development was provided by a Medical Staff Services Association Innovation Grant at the MCH.

The app is free to download and is available on the Apple App Store. Enter “CDH” in the Search function. The app will soon be available for Android phones.