What is the role of lab tests in the diagnosis of diaphragmatic paralysis?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Arterial blood gas analysis may demonstrate hypoxemia in persons with bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis. Hypoxemia develops from atelectasis and ventilation-perfusion mismatching. Progressive hypercapnia also develops with disease progression.

The hallmark of patients with diaphragmatic paralysis is hypercapnia and a respiratory acidosis. The hypoxemia is a consequence of the hypoventilation. This is a key distinction and P(A-a) O2 gradients may be normal if there is no underlying parenchymal lung disease.

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