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Birth Defects

What happens to a person who is born with one lung?


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December 02, 2010 4:30PM

A small percentage of babies are born with one lung. This can result from birth defects such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia, where the diaphragm is incompletely formed.

The condition is not uniformly fatal, except where the lung is not the only organ with a serious defect (heart, liver, kidneys). Many children who survive infancy with one lung can lead normal, active lives. There are usually medical problems that can be worsened, however, in the absence of two complete functioning lungs.

Conjoined twins are often separated, and in some cases may have only one lung each after surgery.