Reversibility of paraneoplastic bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis after nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma

Ann Oncol. 2000 Feb;11(2):221-5. doi: 10.1023/a:1008382030802.


Bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis is usually caused by anatomic lesions of both phrenic nerves (e.g., after cardiothoracic surgery), generalized neurologic diseases (e.g., primary motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or is without a known cause (idiopathic). We report a case of a patient with renal cell carcinoma complicated by an isolated bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis without clinical or electromyographic signs of other muscle or nerve involvement. There has been progressive, though till now partial, recovery of his vital capacity rising from 44% to 72% of predicted values, and maximal inspiratory pressures during the two years following the curative resection of his renal cell carcinoma. We believe this is the first report of a paraneoplastic bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis with actual recovery after tumour therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / complications
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery*
  • Electromyography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / complications
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / etiology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Paralysis / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Paralysis / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome