Computed tomography to diagnose blunt diaphragm injuries: Not ready for prime time

Julie M. Sprunt, Carlos V R Brown, Andrew C. Reifsnyder, Alex V. Shestopalov, Sadia Ali, W. Drew Fielder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Diaphragm injuries after blunt trauma are uncommon but require early diagnosis to expedite repair. The advancing technology of computed tomography (CT) scanners has improved the detection of almost all traumatic injuries; however, the literature regarding the diagnostic accuracy of CT scan for blunt diaphragm injuries is lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine the CT scan findings in the setting of known blunt diaphragm injury. We performed a retrospective review of all blunt trauma patients with a known diaphragm injury confirmed at laparotomy who also had a preoperative CT scan of the torso. Every CT scan was retrospectively reviewed by a board-certified radiologist for evidence of diaphragm injury as well as associated abdominal and thoracic injuries. Forty-two patients sustaining blunt trauma had preoperative CT scans of the torso and a diaphragm injury confirmed at laparotomy. Only 57 per cent of CT scans showed evidence of diaphragmatic injury. The most common thoracic injury identified was a pulmonary contusion (79%). Although the advancement of imaging technology has markedly improved the diagnosis and management of blunt traumatic injuries, the detection of diaphragm injuries using CT continues to be low and reconstructions do not help in finding diaphragm injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1127
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Computed tomography to diagnose blunt diaphragm injuries: Not ready for prime time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this