Basics

What is Paraesophageal Hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when your stomach pushes itself up into your chest. The stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm (broad, flat muscle that separates your belly from your lungs). The majority of patients are asymptomatic. Symptoms that can be present though are pain after eating, vomiting after eating, trouble swallowing, regurgitation of food, and shortness of breath. Patients modify their diets to where they are only eating baby food like products. Surgery is indicated for people with symptoms.

Causes and Risks

The main cause is unknown, however hiatal hernias are closely related to the weakening of the supporting tissues. Increasing age, obesity, and smoking are known risks in older adults. Children with this disorder are generally born with it. Many times, it develops with gastroesophageal reflux in newborns. Hiatal hernias are incredibly common, particularly in people over fifty years old. This disorder can cause acid reflux.

Complications of the Paraesophageal Hiatal Hernia

Incarceration

This is when the stomach gets trapped in the chest and being compressed.

Strangulation

The stomach twists in the chest and cuts off its blood supply. The tissues of the stomach start to die from the deficiency of proper blood supply, resulting in severe pain and vomiting.