Time-Trend Analysis of Pulmonary and Diaphragmatic Functionality in Patients with Diaphragmatic Palsy or with Chronic Diaphragmatic Hernia after Surgical Treatment

Cristian Rapicetta, Luca Voltolini, Filippo Lococo, Ilaria Vecchioni, Sara Tenconi, Masimiliano Paci, Tommaso Ricchetti, Marcello Rossi, Giuseppe Gotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The aim of this study was to assess long-term pulmonary and diaphragmatic function in two cohorts of patients: the first one affected by diaphragmatic palsy (DP) who underwent plication reinforced by rib-fixed mesh and the second one affected by chronic diaphragmatic hernia (TDH) who underwent surgical reduction and direct suture. Materials and Methods From 1996 to 2011, 10 patients with unilateral DP and 6 patients with TDH underwent elective surgery. Preoperative and long-term (12 months) follow-up assessments were completed in all patients, including pulmonary function tests (PFTs) with diffusion of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO), measure of maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) assessed both in standing and in supine positions, blood gas analysis, chest computed tomographic (CT) scan, and dyspnea score. The Pearson chi-square test, Fisher exact test, and Student t-test were applied when indicated. Results At long-term (12 months) postoperative follow-up, patients operated for DP showed a significant improvement in terms of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1%) (+ 18.2%, p <0.001), forced vital capacity (FVC%) (+ 12.8%, p <0.001), DLCO% (+ 8.3%, p = 0.04), and Po 2 (+ 9.86 mm Hg, p <0.001) when compared with baseline values. Conversely, when considering the TDH group, only the levels of Po 2 were found to be significantly higher in the postoperative assessment (+ 8.3 mm Hg, p = 0.04). Although MIP increased in both the groups after surgery, a persistent and significant decrease of MIP was detected in TDH group when comparing the levels assessed in supine position with those measured in the standing position (p <0.001). Medical Research Council dyspnea scale improved in the DP group by a factor of 0.80 (p <0.001) and in the TDH group by a factor of 0.33 (p = 0.175). Conclusion In patients who underwent surgery for DP, good long-term results may be predicted in terms of pulmonary flows, volumes, and DLCO. Conversely, in patients who underwent elective surgery for chronic TDH, a persistent overall restrictive pattern, lower MIP values in supine position, and paradoxical motion could be expected.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 18 2015


  • diaphragm
  • pathophysiology
  • pulmonary function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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