An important cause of dyspnea after coronary artery bypass grafting: phrenic nerve paralysis [Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars]
Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2009; 37(2): 132-135

An important cause of dyspnea after coronary artery bypass grafting: phrenic nerve paralysis

Enbiya Aksakal1, Namık Kemal Erol1, Fuat Gündoğdu1, Özkan Çinici2
1Department of Cardiology Medicine Faculty of Atatürk University, Erzurum
2Department of Thoracic Surgery, Medicine Faculty of Atatürk University, Erzurum

Diaphragmatic paralysis (DP) due to phrenic nerve paralysis is a rare complication after cardiac surgery. A 48-year-old male patient developed respiratory insufficiency, tachypnea, sinus tachycardia, chest pain, pneumonia, and fever immediately after coronary artery bypass grafting. Paradoxical movement of the epigastrium was noted during spontaneous ventilation and the chest X-ray showed elevation of the left hemidiaphragm. The diagnosis of DP was confirmed by ultrasonographic assessment. Antibiotherapy and intermittent positive airway pressure ventilation by a nasal mask resulted in significant improvement in the general condition of the patient. Respiratory problems were observed only on exertion. Spontaneous recovery of DP was considered and the patient was discharged 10 days after surgery with grade 1 dyspnea. However, after six months of follow-up, increased elevation of the left hemidiaphragm was noted on the chest X-ray with worsening respiratory discomfort even at rest. Thoracoscopic diaphragmatic plication was performed. After the operation, dyspnea disappeared, the chest X-ray showed the left hemidiaphragm in its normal position, and there was marked improvement in spirometric values.

Keywords: Coronary artery bypass/adverse effects, diaphragm/surgery, dyspnea, phrenic nerve/injuries; postoperative complications; respiratory paralysis/etiology.

How to cite this article
Enbiya Aksakal, Namık Kemal Erol, Fuat Gündoğdu, Özkan Çinici. An important cause of dyspnea after coronary artery bypass grafting: phrenic nerve paralysis. Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2009; 37(2): 132-135

Corresponding Author: Enbiya Aksakal, Türkiye
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