Diaphragmatic disease of the colon: systematic review

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Diaphragmatic disease is rare. This review aims to increase awareness of this condition and its management.


A literature search was conducted using the key terms ‘colon’ or ‘colonic’ in combination with ‘diaphragm’ or ‘diaphragm disease’ for publications until August 2012. All cases of colonic diaphragm syndrome were identified and the required data were collected.


Forty-five cases of colon diaphragm disease were included. The highest incidence was in the seventh decade of life, with a female preponderance (40F:5M). Most patients presented with chronic (median 3 months) and multiple symptoms. The median use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was 5 years including diclofenac as the most commonly used NSAID. Colonoscopy was the most informative investigation and the ascending colon was the most common site of diaphragm disease. Nearly two-thirds of the patients were treated by discontinuing NSAID treatment combined with other forms of treatment, mostly surgery.


Diaphragm disease of the colon is a rare condition associated with long-term use of NSAIDs with a range of presentations and symptoms. Based on this review, when colon diaphragm disease is diagnosed we would recommend a trial cessation of NSAIDs. Therapeutic endoscopic techniques should be considered but surgery may be required for definitive treatment.

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