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J Korean Surg Soc. 2004 Feb;66(2):138-146. Korean. Original Article.
Bae JD , Bae JM , Bae TS , Choi EA , Lee JS , Jung HG , Jung KH , Bae SH , Jung BO , Jang TJ .
Department of Surgery, Dongguk University Medical College, Gyeongju, Korea.

PURPOSE: A traumatic diaphragmatic rupture (TDR) is a diagnostic challenge and the associated injuries determine the outcome in those diagnosed early. A TDR has long been considered to be a marker of the severity of injury with an average reported Injury Severity Score (ISS) between 31 and 50. This report reviewed the TDR cases in order to emphasize the method and timing of the diagnosis, associated injuries and the outcome. METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed on 30 patient treated for TDR between August 1998 and september 2002. RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 33.4 years and the injury predomiantly affected males (male: female=2: 1). Blunt trauma by TA was the most common cause of the TDR (25 patients). The ruptured sites were on the left in 22 cases and on the right in 8 cases. The most common symptom was chest pain (23 cases) followed dyspnea (21 cases). Liver injuries and a pneumo-hemothorax were the most common associated injuries. The mean CRAMS scale was 6.47 and Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 18.93. Eighteen TDR cases were suspected based on the abnormal chest X-ray findings. Nineteen cases underwent surgery within 6 hours after the trauma (early diagnosis). Although many complications occurred in 11 cases, there were no lethal complications. The mean size of the diaphragmatic rupture was 9.77 cm and an intraabdominal organ herniation had not occurred in ruptures smaller than 6 cm. Surgical repair of the diaphragm was performed via a laparotomy in 20 cases and thoracotomy in 7 cases. A left side TDR was preferred to a laparotomy whereas a right sided TDR was preferred to a thoracotomy. Pulmonary complications (atelectasis, pneumonia, pleural effusion) occurred in 14 cases postoperatively. CONCLUSION: The patient's complaints and physical findings were not a reliable indicator of the diagnosis, but usually a manifestation of the associated injuries. A suspicion and routine chest X-ray was the most reliable diagnostic tool, even though the chest X-ray was normal in 12 cases. A high rate of early diagnosis can be achieved using an aggresive investigation protocol, suspicion and a combined radiologic evaluation in multiple trauma patients. Although pulmonary complications occurred in the early diagnosed cases, lethal complications and long term sequela were directly related to the time of diagnosis. The higher ISS had many complications (11 cases) but there were no lethal complications, long term sequela.

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