Paralysis of diaphragm on one or, exceptionally, both sides is a common cause of delayed recovery and excessive morbidity following pediatric cardiac surgery. The consequences of this complication after all forms of congenital heart surgery in newborns and young infants can be potentially serious. The impact of diaphragmatic palsy on the physiology after single ventricle palliations is particularly significant. It is necessary for all professionals taking care of children with heart disease to be familiar with the etiology, diagnosis, and management of this condition. Early recognition and prompt management of diaphragmatic palsy can potentially reduce the duration of mechanical ventilation and intensive care in those who develop this complication. This review summarizes the anatomy of the phrenic nerves, reasons behind the occurrence of diaphragmatic palsy, and suggests practical guidelines for management.
Keywords: Diaphragm; paralysis; phrenic nerve.