Hiatal hernias are often discovered unintentionally on a plain, routine chest radiograph. The radiograph may reveal a retro cardiac gas-filled mass that may or may not show air fluid level (Kahn, 2008). The hernia is usually located to the left of the spine except for really large hernias in which it may expand past the cardiac confines and can possibly mimic cardiomegaly (Kahn, 2008).
A hiatal hernia is usually detected using three methods, an upper endoscopy also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, a plain chest radiograph, and and upper GI barium series (Kahn, 2008). When using an upper endoscopy to diagnose hiatal hernia, the doctor will insert a small, lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope into the patient's mouth. The endoscope will allow the examination of the stomach, esophagus, and the duodenum including the soft tissues and walls of the upper digestive tract (Gillson, 2008). The patient is typically advised to not to eat anything for at least six hours prior to the procedure. The patient is given a sedative to help them relax and a local anesthetic is sprayed into their throat to suppress any gag reflex they might fe...
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...parotomy would require five small incisions in the abdomen and the use of a small camera with special surgical tools. Both procedures are less invasive than traditional surgeries and the patient is up and about the same day. The chance of infection is less and the patient is back to normal in three to four weeks (Hiatal, 2007).
To summarize, hiatal hernias can range from being barely if noticeable at all to requiring surgery and generally consist of part of the stomach moving up into the thoracic cavity. Pat tried to treat her hernia with home remedies and lifestyle changes. Then, following a couple different medications being prescribed to her she had to eventually have surgery to replace her stomach in her abdomen. After the entire process Pat was back to being her usual self after a little more than a week.
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