What is diaphragmatic paralysis?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

The diaphragm, the most important muscle of ventilation, develops negative intrathoracic pressure to initiate ventilation. Innervated by cervical motor neurons C3-C5 via the phrenic nerves, these two nerves provide both sensory and motor function to the diaphragm. [1, 2] With contraction, the cone-shaped muscle of the diaphragm decreases intrapleural pressure during inspiration and thereby facilitates movement of air into the lungs. Diaphragmatic paralysis is an uncommon, yet underdiagnosed cause of dyspnea. [3]


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