Paraesophageal hernia: clinical presentation, evaluation, and management controversies

Thorac Surg Clin. 2009 Nov;19(4):473-84. doi: 10.1016/j.thorsurg.2009.08.006.


Practically, hiatal hernias are divided into sliding hiatal hernias (type I) and PEH (types II, III, or IV). Patients with PEH are usually symptomatic with GERD or obstructive symptoms, such as dysphagia. Rarely, patients present with acute symptoms of hernia incarceration, such as severe epigastric pain and retching. A thorough evaluation includes a complete history and physical examination, chest radiograph, UGI series, esophagogastroscopy, and manometry. These investigations define the patient's anatomy, rule out other disease processes, and confirm the diagnosis. Operable symptomatic patients with PEH should be repaired. The underlying surgical principles for successful repair include reduction of hernia contents, removal of the hernia sac, closure of the hiatal defect, and an antireflux procedure. Debate remains whether a transthoracic, transabdominal, or laparoscopic approach is best with good surgical outcomes being reported with all three techniques. Placement of mesh to buttress the hiatal closure is reported to reduce hernia recurrence. Long-term follow-up is required to determine whether the laparoscopic approach with mesh hiatoplasty becomes the procedure of choice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastroplasty
  • Hernia, Hiatal / complications*
  • Hernia, Hiatal / diagnosis
  • Hernia, Hiatal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Surgical Mesh