Acute Intrathoracic Gastric Volvulus due to Diaphragmatic Hernia: A Rare Emergency Easily Overlooked

Case Rep Gastroenterol. 2011 May;5(2):272-7. doi: 10.1159/000328444. Epub 2011 May 6.


Acute intrathoracic gastric volvulus occurs when the stomach undergoes organoaxial torsion in the chest due to either concomitant enlargement of the hiatus or a diaphragmatic hernia. Iatrogenic diaphragmatic hernia can occur after hiatal hernia repair and other surgical procedures, such as nephrectomy, esophagogastrectomy and splenopancreatectomy. We describe a 49-year-old woman who presented to our emergency department with acute moderate epigastric soreness and vomiting. She had undergone extensive gynecologic surgery including splenectomy 1 year before. The chest radiograph obtained in the emergency department demonstrated an elevated gastric air-fluid level in the left lower lung field. An urgent gastroscopy showed twisted structural abnormality of the stomach body. A computed tomography scan demonstrated the distended stomach, located in the left lower hemithorax through a left diaphragmatic defect. Emergent transthoracic repair was performed. Postoperative recovery was uneventful, and the patient did not experience any pain or difficulty with eating.

Keywords: Diaphragmatic hernia; Emergency; Gastric volvulus; Torsion.

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  • Case Reports