Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia in children
Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia (TDH) is very rare in the pediatric age group. Because of its rarity and its coexistence with more serious injuries, the diagnosis is often missed or delayed.
Patients and methods
All children with the diagnosis of TDH were retrospectively reviewed for age at diagnosis, sex, mechanism of injury, site of diaphragmatic rupture, associated injuries, injury severity score, investigations, treatment and outcome.
Over a period of 15 years (1992–2007), we treated seven children with TDH. All were males except one. Their mean age was 7.4 years (3.75–14 years). The site of TDH was on the left in three, on the right in three and one had bilateral TDH. The mechanism of injury was blunt trauma in six and penetrating injury from a stab in one. Three had right TDH and in all three, the diagnosis of TDH was delayed. All sustained severe injuries as reflected by the ISS score (mean 38.6). The time from presentation to diagnosis was variable ranging from 3 to 240 h (mean 65.7 h). The three patients with left TDH were repaired trans-abdominally while the three with right TDH were repaired via a right thoracotomy. The patient with bilateral TDH required laparotomy and thoracotomy. All our patients survived and the hospital stay was variable ranging from 7 to 24 days (mean 17 days).
TDH is very rare in children and often associated with severe more serious injuries. These two factors contribute to the delay in diagnosis. This is specially so for right TDH. To obviate delay in diagnosis, it is important to have a high index of suspicion as well as careful interpretation of the initial and follow-up radiological investigations including CT-scan of the chest and abdomen. This is important to detect a slowly increasing TDH that may not be apparent initially.
KeywordsTrauma Ruptured diaphragm
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