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A review on delayed presentation of diaphragmatic rupture

DOI: 10.1186/1749-7922-4-32

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A Pubmed search was conducted using the terms "delayed presentation of post traumatic diaphragmatic rupture" and "delayed diaphragmatic rupture". Although quite a few articles were cited, the details of presentation, investigations and treatment discussed in each of these were not identical, accounting for the variation in the data presented below.Late presentation of diaphragmatic rupture is often a result of herniation of abdominal contents into the thorax[1]. Sudden increase in the intra abdominal pressure may cause a diaphragmatic tear and visceral herniation[2]. The incidence of diaphragmatic ruptures after thoraco-abdominal traumas is 0.8–5% [3] and up to 30% diaphragmatic hernias present late[4]. Diaphragmatic, lumbar and extra-thoracic hernias are well described complications of blunt trauma [5]. Incorrect interpretation of the x ray or only intermittent hernial symptoms are frequent reasons for incorrect diagnosis[6].Diaphragmatic rupture with abdominal organ herniation was first described by Sennertus in 1541[7,8]. Diaphragmatic injury is a recognised consequence of high velocity blunt and penetrating trauma to the abdomen and chest rather than from a trivial fall[8]. These patients usually have multi system injuries because of the large force required to rupture the diaphragm[9].Blunt trauma to the abdomen increases the transdiaphragmatic pressure gradient between the abdominal compartment and the thorax[10]. This causes shearing of a stretched membrane and avulsion of the diaphragm from its points of attachments due to sudden increase in intra abdominal pressure, transmitted through the viscera[11]. Delay in presentation of a diaphragmatic hernia could be explained by various different hypotheses. Delayed rupture of a devitalised diaphragmatic muscle may occur several days after the initial injury [8]. This is best exemplified in the case report of bilateral diaphragmatic rupture [12], where the left diaphragmatic rupture was identified 24 hours after th


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