Paralysis of the diaphragm may cause difficulty breathing when resting, exercising, or lying down. It can occur after trauma, heart or lung surgery, or an infection, but it may also be associated with a neuromuscular or autoimmune disease, or a toxic injury.
It is most often discovered during an X-ray or CT scan. The diaphragm is shown to be elevated. This prevents one of the lungs from filling up with air. Various examinations are carried out to better evaluate the paralysis of the diaphragm.
Treatment depends on the origin of the paralysis of the diaphragm. Medication may be prescribed if the cause is an autoimmune disease. Surgical treatment consists of folding the diaphragm, which is called plication of the diaphragm. The lung can then fill with air more easily. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a minimally invasive technique called thoracoscopy.