An Adult with Bowel Sounds in the Chest
Karanam Gowrinath, Manam Gayatri
Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research
A 53-year-old male, non-smoker was admitted for cough, breathlessness, throat pain and difficulty in swallowing of one week duration. Breathlessness was more during eating and on lying down. There was no history of birth trauma. In 2010, patient met with an accident while travelling in a bus and sustained head injury but recovered quickly with medical treatment. In 2014, he was admitted for respiratory tract infection and left Diaphragmatic Eventration (DE) was detected through computed
... hy of chest. Patient remained asymptomatic after discharge till one week back. Physical examination findings were not remarkable. Chest examination showed fullness of lower left hemithorax and auscultation revealed bowel sounds in the left infraaxillary and infrascapular areas. Other systems were clinically normal. Blood examination was significant for leucocytosis. A postero-anterior and left lateral chest radiograph showed elevated left hemidiaphragm with underneath bowel loops. The Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography (CECT) scan of chest [Table/Fig-1] done four years back showed thin and elevated left hemidiaphragm, stomach, spleen, splenic flexure and colon. The latest Computed Tomography (CT) of chest [Table/Fig-2] done after admission also showed similar findings of thinned out left hemidiaphragm, stomach, spleen, splenic flexure and colon underneath it with sub-segmental atelectasis of lower lobe as an additional finding. Ultrasound examination showed uniformly elevated left hemidiaphragm with faintly appreciated respiratory phase movements and a single right renal cyst (23×18 mm) as an incidental finding. A diagnosis of left complete DE with acute bronchitis was made. Patient responded well to medical treatment for his respiratory DISCUSSION The generally accepted definition of DE is "abnormally high or elevated position of one leaf of the intact diaphragm as a result of paralysis, aplasia or atrophy of varying degrees of muscle fibres. The unbroken continuity distinguishes it from diaphragmatic hernia" . DE may manifest at any age and males are more often affected. True DE is a congenital anomaly resulting from incomplete development of muscular portion of part or total hemidiaphragm which becomes a thin layer of connective tissue and few scattered muscle fibres covered with pleura and peritoneum on either side  . In a study of DE among children, 17.5% had associated congenital malformations; hypoplasia of lung being the commonest followed by congenital heart disease . Symptomatic DE is rare in adults and left hemidiaphragm is most often affected. Complete DE is detected more often in the left than in the right hemidiaphragm. Acquired eventration may be idiopathic or as a result of dysfunction of phrenic nerve as a consequence of spread of inflammation or neoplasm from adjacent area, trauma during birth or later including surgery  . In the present case, patient was born through normal delivery and never had respiratory problem till four years back. Whether, left DE was related to sudden jerky movements, experienced by the patient during bus accident eight years ago or not, could not be verified as patient denied direct chest trauma and did not preserve medical records including chest radiographs. Elevation caused by paralysis or weakness typically involves an entire hemidiaphragm whereas elevation secondary to eventration involves only a portion of a hemidiaphragm and pulmonary function testing may show restrictive defect  . In the present case, patient had complete eventration of left hemidiaphram and spirometry showed mild restrictive ventilatory defect. The normal diaphragm acts as a partition between the thorax and abdomen. But thin and weakened musculature of eventrated hemidiaphragm can no longer act as mechanical barrier and is displaced upwards resulting in protrusion of abdominal viscera into thoracic cavity. The main symptoms of DE are exertional dyspnoea and orthopnoea .