Minimally invasive procedures for diagnosis of traumatic right diaphragmatic tears: a method for correct diagnosis in selected patients

Mintz, Yoav; Easter, David W.; Izhar, Uzi; Edden, Yair; Talamini, Mark A.; Rivkind, Avraham I.
April 2007
American Surgeon;Apr2007, Vol. 73 Issue 4, p388
Academic Journal
journal article
Traumatic rupture of the diaphragm is no longer uncommon. Because of the increasing frequency of motor vehicle accidents, the rate of blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen, which are the most common causes of diaphragmatic rupture, is increased as well. However, the diagnosis is frequently missed or delayed because of the lack of sensitivity and specificity of imaging modalities. Diagnostic laparoscopy is considered a standard tool for penetrating injuries to the left diaphragm and is widely practiced in selected cases. Right diaphragmatic tears, however, are more difficult to diagnose because of the sealing effect of the liver. Blunt abdominal trauma can cause large right diaphragmatic tears, causing liver incarcerations and respiratory compromise, therefore demanding the need for a comparable diagnostic tool. A high index of suspicion, together with knowledge of the mechanism of trauma, is the key factor for the correct diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been considered, diagnostic laparoscopy and/or diagnostic thoracoscopy should be performed to confirm or rule out this injury. Factors suggestive of a right diaphragmatic tear include newly or progressive elevation of the right diaphragm and respiratory distress without underlining lung injury. The timing of the procedure should be in accordance with the hemodynamic and respiratory status of the patient. This procedure should be performed semielectively if there are no other indications for surgical intervention.


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