Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Thorac Surg. 1995 Nov;60(5):1444-9.

Traumatic rupture of diaphragm.

Author information

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Bradford Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom.


Traumatic diaphragmatic rupture remains a diagnostic challenge, and associated injuries determine the outcome in those diagnosed early, whereas that of latent cases is dependent on the consequence of the diaphragmatic rupture: namely, the diaphragmatic hernia. To analyze the clinical and radiologic features and the therapeutic implications, we reviewed 980 patients reported in the English-language literature. This injury affects predominantly males (male:female = 4:1) in the third decade of life, and is often caused by blunt trauma (75%). There were 1,000 injuries, of which 685 (68.5%) were left-sided, 242 (24.2%) right-sided, 15 (1.5%) bilateral, and 9 (0.9%) pericardial ruptures; 49 cases were unclassified. Chest (43.9%) and splenic (37.6%) trauma were the most common associated injuries. The diagnosis was made preoperatively in 43.5% of cases, whereas in 41.3% it was made at exploration or at autopsy and on the remaining 14.6% of the cases the diagnosis was delayed. The mortality was 17% in those in whom acute diagnosis was made, and the majority of the morbidity in the group that underwent operation was due to pulmonary complications. Uniform diagnosis depends on a high index of suspicion, careful scrutiny of the chest roentgenogram in patients with thoracoabdominal or polytrauma, and meticulous inspection of the diaphragm when operating for concurrent injuries. Repeated evaluation for days after injury is necessary to discern injury in patients not requiring laparotomy. Acute diaphragmatic injuries are best approached through the abdomen, as more than 89% of patients with this injury have an associated intraabdominal injury. Patients with diaphragmatic rupture presenting in the latent phase have adhesion between the herniated abdominal and intrathoracic organs, and thus the rupture is best approached via a thoracotomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center