Factors affecting mortality in traumatic diaphragm ruptures

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2019 Nov;25(6):567-574. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2019.58133.


Traumatic diaphragm ruptures (TDR) are rarely seen. Although TDR does not cause morbidity in the acute period, undiagnosed TDR may cause clinical states, such as herniation, strangulation, pneumonia, pleural effusion, empyema, and cardiac tamponade, which have high morbidity and mortality rates in the late period. This study aims to evaluate the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, diagnosis and treatment methods of TDR encountered in thoracoabdominal trauma and to identify the factors affecting mortality. METHODS: A retrospective examination was carried out on the patients who were operated in our clinic because of traumatic diaphragm injury between January 2012 and December 2017. Each patient operated because traumatic diaphragm injury was evaluated in respect of age, gender, manner of injury, preoperative examination findings, laboratory test results, imaging methods, time of diagnosis, operation findings, concomitant injuries to other organs, operations performed, length of stay in hospital, the development of postoperative morbidity and mortality, and the calculated Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) and Injury Severity Score (ISS). RESULTS: Between January 2012 and December 2017, a total of 1066 patients were operated in our clinic because of thoracoabdominal trauma, and of 1066 patients, 45 of the patients were determined with TDR. Of the 45 patients, surgery was applied because of penetrating trauma in 32 cases (7 firearms injuries, 25 penetrating cutting injuries), blunt trauma in nine cases, and in four cases, diaphragm rupture was seen to have developed associated with iatrogenic injury during an operation. The most common injuries concomitant to traumatic diaphragm rupture were hemopneumothorax (70%), liver (43%), spleen (32%), colon (20%), stomach (17%) injuries and rib fractures (15%), respectively. Mortality developed in seven (17%) patients; five patients were lost because of hemorrhagic shock intraoperatively or in the early postoperative hours, and two because of multiorgan failure during follow-up in the intensive care unit. CONCLUSION: In high energy blunt and penetrating thoracoabdominal traumas, diaphragm injuries should be suspected. Factors affecting mortality were found to be the AISS, ISS, number of concomitant organ injuries and the combination with pneumohemothorax.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / complications
  • Diaphragm / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Rupture
  • Thoracic Injuries* / complications
  • Thoracic Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Thoracic Injuries* / mortality
  • Thoracic Injuries* / physiopathology