Unravelling the Mysteries of Traumatic Diaphragmatic Injury: An Up-to-Date Review

Waleed Abdellatif, Brandon Chow, Saira Hamid, Dina Khorshed, Faisal Khosa, Savvas Nicolaou, Nicolas Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Traumatic diaphragmatic injury (TDI) is an underdiagnosed condition that has recently increased in prevalence due to its association with automobile collisions. The initial injury is often obscured by concurrent thoracic and abdominal injuries. Traumatic diaphragmatic injury itself is rarely lethal at initial presentation, however associated injuries and complications of untreated TDI such as herniation and strangulation of abdominal viscera have serious clinical consequences. There are 2 primary mechanisms of TDIs: penetrating TDI which tend to be smaller, more difficult to detect, and result in fewer complications; and blunt TDIs which are larger and have higher overall mortality due to associated injuries or delayed complications. The anatomy of thoracic and abdominal cavities distinguishes the epidemiology, pathophysiology, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis of right versus left TDI. Although there is no definitive radiologic sign for diagnosing TDI, many signs have been introduced in the literature and the concurrent presence of multiple signs increases the sensitivity of TDI detection. Conservative versus surgical management depends on mechanism of TDI, side, and most importantly the associated injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Association of Radiologists Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • blunt trauma
  • cinematic rendering
  • diaphragmatic injury
  • diaphragmatic tear
  • emergency radiology
  • postmortem CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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