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Eventration of the diaphragm in infants

Joseph A Garcia-Prats, MD
Section Editors
Leonard E Weisman, MD
Gregory Redding, MD
Deputy Editor
Melanie S Kim, MD


Eventration of the diaphragm in infants is an uncommon disorder in which all or part of the diaphragmatic muscle is replaced by fibroelastic tissue, leading to a thinned and pliable central portion of the diaphragm. It is a result of either inadequate development (congenital) or atrophy (acquired) of the diaphragm.

The pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management of diaphragmatic eventration in infants will be discussed here. Eventration of the diaphragm in adults is discussed separately. (See "Causes and diagnosis of unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis and eventration in adults", section on 'Eventration of the diaphragm'.)


Accurate information regarding the incidence of infantile eventration of the diaphragm is challenging because the lesion is usually only identified in symptomatic patients and some affected infants may be asymptomatic for years or throughout their lives.

This was illustrated by the following case series:

In the first report, 69 children were identified at a single tertiary center in the United States over a 20-year time period from 1953 to 1972 [1]. In this cohort, the diagnosis was made in 26 neonates, 17 infants between one month to one year of age, and the remaining 26 patients between 1 to 17 years of age.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 30, 2016.
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