What causes unilateral 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 most common diagnosed cause is a malignant (ie, metastatic lung cancer) lesion leading to nerve compression (approximately 30% of patients).

If malignancy is not the cause, many times the etiology cannot be determined.

Other causes in the differential include blunt cervical trauma, surgical trauma (mainly thoracic), [4] herpes zoster, cervical spondylosis, and supraclavicular brachial plexus block (which can be largely avoided with the use of ultrasound.) Upper cervical radiculopathies, Hashimoto encephalopathy, and neuromyelitis optica as causes of hemidiaphragmatic paralysis have also been reported. [5, 6, 7]


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