Incarcerated Diaphragmatic Hernia – Differential Diagnoses

Nado Bukvić, Ana Bosak Veršić, Giordano Bačić, Nadomir Gusić, Harry Nikolić, Frane Bukvić




The incarceration of diaphragmatic hernia is very rare. We present a case of a four-year old girl who developed the incarceration of left-sided diaphragmatic hernia, who, until then, was completely asymptomatic. This incarceration of the hernia represented a surgical emergency presenting as obstructive ileus and a severe respiratory distress which developed from what appeared to be full health. During a brief pre-operative examination a number of differential diagnoses were suggested.

            Along with the laboratory blood analysis (complete blood count and acid-base balance) a plain thoracic and abdominal radiography was done (babygram). After that, through an inserted nasal-gastric tube, barium meal of the upper gastrointestinal tract was done, showing abdominal organs in the left half of the thorax and a significant shift of the mediastinum to the right. With an urgent upper medial laparotomy we accessed the abdominal cavity and made the correct diagnosis. An opening was shown in the rear part of the left hemi-diaphragm with thickened and edematous edges, approx. 6 cm in diameter with incarcerated content. The incarcerated abdominal organs (stomach, transversal colon, small intestine and spleen) gradually moved into the abdominal cavity.

            The opening was closed with nonresorptive sutures (TiCron) size 2-0 with a previous control and ventilated expansion of the well developed left lung. In postoperative course the acid-base balance quickly recovered, as well as the general state of the patient and radiography showed a good expansion and lucency of the lung parenchyma and a return of the mediastinum into the middle part of the thorax.


congenital diaphragmatic hernia, children, incarceration

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