Congenital asymptomatic diaphragmatic hernias in adults: a case series.

J Med Case Rep. 2013 May 13;7(1):125. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-7-125.

Congenital asymptomatic diaphragmatic hernias in adults: a case series.




Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a major malformation occasionally found in newborns and babies. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is defined by the presence of an orifice in the diaphragm, more often to the left and posterolateral, that permits the herniation of abdominal contents into the thorax. The aim of this case series is to provide information on the presentation, diagnosis and outcome of three patients with late-presenting congenital diaphragmatic hernias. The diagnosis of congenital diaphragmatic hernia is based on clinical investigation and is confirmed by plain X-ray films and computed tomography scans.


In the present report three cases of asymptomatic abdominal viscera herniation within the thorax are described. The first case concerns herniation of some loops of the large intestine into the left hemi-thorax in a 75-year-old Caucasian Italian woman. The second case concerns a rare type of herniation in the right side of the thorax of the right kidney with a part of the liver parenchyma in a 57-year-old Caucasian Italian woman. The third case concerns herniation of the stomach and bowel into the left side of the chest with compression of the left lung in a 32-year-old Caucasian Italian man. This type of hernia may appear later in life, because of concomitant respiratory or gastrointestinal disease, or it may be an incidental finding in asymptomatic adults, such as in the three cases featured here.


Patients who present with late diaphragmatic hernias complain of a wide variety of symptoms, and diagnosis may be difficult. Additional investigation and research appear necessary to better explain the development and progression of this type of disease.

PMID: 23668793 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3668166