Vitor F. Kruger, Thiago A. R. Calderan, Elcio S. Hirano, Gustavo P. Fraga

Department of Trauma Surgery, University of Campinas-Unicamp, Campinas, Brazil


Objective: In hospital attendance, 75% of diaphragmatic hernias occur on left as opposed to 25% on the right side. Right side hernias are associated with abdominal injuries, mainly the liver. However, right-side injuries are frequently underdiagnosed due to the complexity of associated injuries and high mortality rates. The aim of this study was to perform a retrospective analysis of records from our clinical experience to investigate demographics, TM, diagnosis, morbidity, and mortality associated with right sided TDH. These findings may provide insights into improving the clinical management of patients with this serious injury, potentially reducing morbidity and mortality rates.

Material and Methods: Retrospective analysis of the medical records of patients from the trauma database of the Division of Trauma Surgery at University of Campinas in 32-year period was performed. Only records of patients with right sided TDH were included in the analysis.

Results: Blunt trauma was the most common mechanism. Diagnoses were made by laparotomy in eight cases, all these cases were hemodynamically unstable. TDH grade III injury occurred in most cases followed by grade IV. Liver injuries were present in almost all cases, most of them high grade, followed by colon and small bowel. Extra-abdominal associated injuries with a predominance of femur fractures, pelvic fractures and hemothorax. Post-operative complications were associated with length of stay in intensive care unit. Pneumonia was the most frequent complication. The overall mortality rate was 16%.

Conclusion: Most diagnoses were performed through laparotomy and not by radiologic exams, due to hemodynamic instability on admission. There is underdiagnosis of right-side TDH due to the high-energy trauma mechanism with high grade associated injuries and mortality on pre-hospital.

Keywords: Trauma, abdominal injuries, diaphragm, diaphragmatic hernia

Cite this article as: Kruger VF, Calderan TAR, Hirano ES, Fraga GP. The silent threat: A retrospective study of rightsided traumatic diaphragmatic hernias in a university hospital. Turk J Surg 2023; 39 (4): 365-372


Ethics Committee Approval

This study was approved by University of Campinas and Institutional Review Board (Protocol No: 2.692.996, Date: 06.05.2018 and 5.892.808, Date: 02.14.2023).

Peer Review

Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions

Concept - VK, GPF; Design - VK; Supervision - VK; Data Collection and/or Processing - VK, TRAC; Analysis and/or Interpretation - ESH, TRAC; Literature Search - GPF; Writing Manuscript - VK, TRAC; Critical Reviews - ESH, GPF.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.