Diaphragmatic injuries in childhood

Karnak I., Senocak M., Tanyel F. C. , Buyukpamukcu N.

SURGERY TODAY, vol.31, no.1, pp.5-11, 2001 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s005950170212
  • Journal Name: SURGERY TODAY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.5-11


The early detection and surgical repair of diaphragmatic injury is vital for saving the life of symptomatic children suffering from trauma. Furthermore, an accurate diagnosis may be difficult, particularly in right-sided diaphragmatic injuries. Fifteen children with diaphragmatic injury treated at our depart ment between 1977 and 1998 were evaluated retrospectively. They included 9 boys and 6 girls, and consisted of 8 left- and 6 right-sided injuries, and 1 midline retrosternal injury, due to a blunt (n = 13) or penetrating (n = 2) trauma. The most frequent symptoms were dyspnea (86.6%), and abdominal pain and vomiting (13.4%). The diagnosis was confirmed preoperatively in 13 patients based on chest X-ray (n = 7), gastrointestinal series (n = 3), barium enema (n = 1), and computed tomography and/or ultrasonography findings (n = 2). Among these, a diagnostic delay occurred in 3 patients with right-sided injuries. A primary repair was performed through a laparotomy (n = 14) or thoracotomy (n = 1). Postoperative intussusception was the most: frequent complication (II = 2). Diaphragmatic injury must be considered in any child who has sustained a thoracoabdominal trauma. Serial chest: X-rays should be taken especially in right-sided injuries in which a considerable diagnostic delay may occur. Further radiological methods may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. In addition, postoperative intussusception may be encountered following diaphragmatic repair.