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Chairul Sandro
Diaphragma Injury (AAST)
 Grade Injury Description

 I Contusion
 II Laceration <2 cm
 III Laceration 2-10 cm
 IV Laceration > 10 cm with tissue loss ≤ 25cm
 V Laceration with tissue loss > 25 cm

 (Advance one grade for bilateral injuries)


 American Association for the Surgery of Trauma
 The diaphragm separates the chest and the abdominal
cavities.
 A tear in the diaphragm allows abdominal viscera to
enter the chest. Such an event can lead to difficulty in
breathing and respiratory distress. The process is more
rapid with spontaneous or unsupported respirations. It
may also lead to bowel/visceral strangulation.
 Prompt identification is mandatory to avoid ischemia
to the viscera or respiratory failure.
 Initiate the ATLS protocol with each trauma patient
 Intubate the patient if the patient is in respiratory
distress.
 Obtain necessary adjuncts such as a chest radiograph,
however, a chest radiograph may be non-diagnostic.
 If the patient has sustained a blunt abdominal injury
with a tear in the diaphragm on the left or a
penetrating injury to the left diaphragm, a chest
radiograph may display viscera in the left chest cavity.
 If the chest radiograph is suspicious, a nasogastric
tube may be inserted into the patient’s stomach. If a
repeat chest radiograph is obtained, examine the
radiograph for evidence that the nasogastric tube
placement into the chest.
 Commonly obtained a thoracic computed tomography
scan will most likely be non-diagnostic for a
diaphragmatic injury.
 If necessary, a contrasted upper gastrointestinal
swallow may be obtained to assess the location of the
stomach. In addition, contrast may be used in the
nasogastric tube to help identify gastric herniation
into the chest.
 If the injury is to the right diaphragm, assess the chest
radiograph for an abnormal “hump” in the lateral
diaphragm which is suggestive of a large laceration of
the diaphragm with protrusion of the liver.
 Confirmation of diaphragmatic injuries by computed
tomography of the chest or by thorascopic or
laparoscopic evaluation of the right chest.
 While laparoscopy may be challenging to assess the
entire diaphragm, it may be useful, especially when
examining the abdomen for other concomitant
injuries.
 Once identified, diaphragmatic injuries must be
repaired promptly with reduction of abdominal viscera
back into the abdomen, inspection of those abdominal
viscera, and debridement of necrotic diaphragmatic
muscle if necessary.
 Repair all left-sided injuries even if it is small while
small injuries on the right side may not require repair
(intra-operative determination for repair is
recommended.)
 For those diaphragmatic injuries that are early on in
the patent’s clinical course, consider an open
abdominal approach, however, laparoscopic repair has
been described for such injuries.
 Diagnostic laparoscopy provides a vital tool for
detecting occult diaphragmatic injury among patients
who have no other indications for formal laparotomy.
 For those diaphragmatic injuries that are late in the
patient’s clinical course, consider a trans-thoracic
approach. The patient may require both abdominal
and thoracic approaches if the dissection is difficult,
yet could be facilitated with a dual cavity exploration.
 Mesh replacement is rarely needed but several options
are available, including both synthetic and non-
synthetic substitutes.
 Close all injuries using a non-absorbable suture in an
interrupted or running fashion.
 Place a 32 or 36 French chest tube into the thoracic
cavity on the side of injury prior to repairing the
diaphragm. This chest tube may be removed if there is
no injury to the lung parenchyma and no
pneumothorax where a chest tube would therefore not
be warranted.
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