The unreliability of CT scans and initial chest radiographs in evaluating blunt trauma induced diaphragmatic rupture

M. J. Shapiro, E. Heiberg, R. M. Durham, W. Luchtefeld, J. E. Mazuski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective, There is no gold standard for early and reliable diagnosis of traumatic diaphragmatic rupture (TDR). The purpose of this study is to correlate CT scans, chest radiographs, and intubation on the ability to diagnosis traumatic diaphragmatic rupture. Materials and methods. Twenty patients with blunt trauma induced diaphragmatic rupture were identified from a five year review of a Level 1 Trauma Registry Results. Ten of the 20 (50%) patients had TDR on initial chest X-ray, all on the left side, Twelve patients had both chest X-rays and a chest and abdominal CT scan; however, only five (42%) of the CT scans were diagnostic. Of the 12 patients initially intubated, TDR was diagnosed in only four (33%) patients on initial chest X-ray and in one (14%) of seven patients having chest and abdominal CT scans and being intubated. Conclusion. The early diagnosis of blunt traumatic diaphragmatic rupture, especially in intubated patients, continues to be a diagnostic dilemma. There is a significantly better possibility of identifying left over right-sided TDR (P ≤ 0.05). Diagnosing TDR is also facilitated by extubation. If the suspicion exists, a post extubation chest radiograph should be performed to evaluate for TDR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Radiology
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

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