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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 53-57

Management of traumatic diaphragmatic injury—A peep into bowel repair via thoracotomy

1 Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
2 Department of Surgery, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
3 Department of Human Anatomy, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State, Nigeria
4 Cardiac Surgical Unit, Department of Surgery, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kelechi E Okonta
Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jwas.jwas_94_22

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Background: Traumatic diaphragmatic injury (TDI) is a relatively rare condition, and there is a high tendency for it to be missed if thorough clinical assessment and imaging review are not carried out. The surgical approach for TDI can be challenging, especially with bowel perforation. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective case series of all consecutive patients with TDI from two tertiary hospitals in the southern part of Nigeria between January 2013 and December 2019. The demographic data of the patients, type, cause, and clinical diagnosis, intraoperative findings, Injury Severity Score, and outcome were noted. The descriptive statistics were presented in percentages and fractions. Results: Fourteen (4.3%) of the 326 chest trauma patients had TDI with 57.1% from penetrating causes and 42.9% from blunt causes. The causes of the TDI were gunshot injuries (42.9%), road traffic crashes (35.7%), stab injury (14.3%), and domestic accidents (7.1%). The preoperative method of diagnosis was mainly by massive haemothorax necessitating open thoracotomy (42.9%) and mixed clinical evaluation, chest radiograph, and upper gastrointestinal contrast studies (35.7%), and the drainage of intestinal content following the insertion of a chest tube to initially drain haemothorax (21.4%) and other modality of diagnoses (7.1%). The operative finding was mainly intestine content in the chest (50%) and only diaphragmatic injury (35.7%). The major complication after surgery was empyema thoracis (14.3%) and the mortality rate (14.3%). Conclusion: Penetrating injury of the chest was the major factor responsible for the TDI, and even with bowel perforation and acute TDI, thoracotomy offered an effective surgical approach for all the patients.

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