Blunt Traumatic Diaphragmatic Hernia in Children: A Systematic Review

Christina M. Theodorou, Jordan E. Jackson, Alana L. Beres, David E. Leshikar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia (TDH) is rare in children, most often occurring following blunt thoracoabdominal trauma from high energy mechanisms, such as motor vehicle collisions (MVC). We performed a systematic review to describe injury details and management. Methods: Following PRISMA guidelines, a systematic literature search was performed to identify publications of blunt TDH in patients < 18 y old. Conflicts were resolved by consensus. Data were collected on demographics, TDH location, mechanism of injury, associated intraabdominal injuries (IAI), management, and outcomes. Denominators vary depending on number of patients with such information reported. Results: Fifty-eight articles were reviewed with 142 patients with TDH. The median age was seven y (range 0.25-16). Most were left-sided (85 of 126, 67.5%). MVC was the most common mechanism (66 of 142, 46.5%). IAI was present in 50.0% (57 of 114), most commonly liver injuries (25 of 57, 43.9%). Delayed diagnoses occurred in 49.6% (57 of 115, range 8 h-10 y), and were more common with right-sided TDH (76.0% versus 48.5%, P = 0.02). Chest radiography was 59.0% sensitive for TDH, while computed tomography sensitivity was 65.8%. Operative repair was performed on all surviving patients, and all underwent primary diaphragm repair. The overall mortality was 11.3% (n = 16), with four attributable to the TDH. There were no reported recurrences over a median follow-up of 12 mo. Conclusions: Pediatric TDH is a rare diagnosis with a high rate of associated IAI and delayed diagnosis. Primary diaphragm repair was performed in all cases. Surgeons should maintain a high suspicion for diaphragm injury in blunt thoracoabdominal trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Pediatric trauma
  • Systematic review
  • Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia
  • Traumatic hernia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Blunt Traumatic Diaphragmatic Hernia in Children: A Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this