Emergency surgery for a Morgagni hernia causing respiratory failure


Emergency surgery for a Morgagni hernia causing respiratory failure


Yoshitsugu Tsukamoto, Takeharu Enomoto, Takehito Otsubo, Kenta Katsumata, Natsuko Kamei, Jin Shimada, Shinya Mikami

Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery, Department of Surgery, St. Marianna University School of Medicine


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Reports of emergency surgical repair of a retrosternal hernia causing respiratory failure in an adult are rare. We treated an 82-year-old man who had been suffering breathlessness upon exertion, some speech difficulty, and, most recently, visual hallucinations. He had consulted a physician who ordered an arterial blood gas test, which revealed hypoxemia, and thoracoabdominal computed tomography (CT), which revealed a hernia that was compressing the pulmonary parenchyma. Over the next 30 days, the hernia worsened, acute respiratory failure developed, and the patient was transferred to our hospital by ambulance. The patient presented to us not only with respiratory failure but also a decreased level of consciousness. CT performed upon admission revealed prolapse of the transverse colon from the posterior surface of the sternum to the right thoracic cavity, left deviation of the mediastinum, and compression of the pulmonary parenchyma, which we believed to be the cause of the hypoxemia. With the hernial orifice appearing to be on the right, a Morgagni hernia was diagnosed. Emergency surgery was deemed necessary. An epigastric midline laparotomy incision was placed, and we observed a retrosternal hernia, with an enlarged foramen of Morgagni measuring 70mm × 50 mm as the hernial orifice. The hernia contained portions of the greater omentum and transverse colon. We returned the contents to the peritoneal cavity manually closed the hernia orifice by simple suturing and reinforced the repair with a mesh patch. With signs of cardiac failure developing, temporary noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation was instituted from postoperative day 5 to postoperative day 11, but the patient’s general condition improved thereafter, and he was discharged on postoperative day 29.


Keywords: Emergency surgery, Morgagni hernia, respiratory failure

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How to cite this article:

Yoshitsugu Tsukamoto, Takeharu Enomoto, Takehito Otsubo, Kenta Katsumata, Natsuko Kamei, Jin Shimada, Shinya Mikami. Emergency surgery for a Morgagni hernia causing respiratory failure. International Journal of Case Reports, 2019 4:79. DOI: 10.28933/ijcr-2019-04-1406


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