Research: Approach to Acute Traumatic and Nontraumatic Diaphragmatic Abnormalities


. 2024 Jun;44(6):e230110.

 doi: 10.1148/rg.230110.

Approach to Acute Traumatic and Nontraumatic Diaphragmatic Abnormalities

Sarah Keyes 1Rebecca J Spouge 1Padraic Kennedy 1Shamir Rai 1Waleed Abdellatif 1Gavin Sugrue 1Sarah A Barrett 1Faisal Khosa 1Savvas Nicolaou 1Nicolas Murray 1

Affiliations expand


Acute diaphragmatic abnormalities encompass a broad variety of relatively uncommon and underdiagnosed pathologic conditions, which can be subdivided into nontraumatic and traumatic entities. Nontraumatic abnormalities range from congenital hernia to spontaneous rupture, endometriosis-related disease, infection, paralysis, eventration, and thoracoabdominal fistula. Traumatic abnormalities comprise both blunt and penetrating injuries. Given the role of the diaphragm as the primary inspiratory muscle and the boundary dividing the thoracic and abdominal cavities, compromise to its integrity can yield devastating consequences. Yet, diagnosis can prove challenging, as symptoms may be vague and findings subtle. Imaging plays an essential role in investigation. Radiography is commonly used in emergency evaluation of a patient with a suspected thoracoabdominal process and may reveal evidence of diaphragmatic compromise, such as abdominal contents herniated into the thoracic cavity. CT is often superior, in particular when evaluating a trauma patient, as it allows rapid and more detailed evaluation and localization of pathologic conditions. Additional modalities including US, MRI, and scintigraphy may be required, depending on the clinical context. Developing a strong understanding of the acute pathologic conditions affecting the diaphragm and their characteristic imaging findings aids in efficient and accurate diagnosis. Additionally, understanding the appearance of diaphragmatic anatomy at imaging helps in differentiating acute pathologic conditions from normal variations. Ultimately, this knowledge guides management, which depends on the underlying cause, location, and severity of the abnormality, as well as patient factors. ©RSNA, 2024 Supplemental material is available for this article.

Recommended Articles

Translate »