Diaphragmatic Paralysis Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Oct 14, 2021
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

The following diagnoses may be difficult to differentiate from bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis:

  • Diaphragmatic relaxation can occur in which the muscles are thin but no injury is seen to the nerves.

  • Alveolar hypoventilation is caused by brain stem or high cervical spine disease. Patients have normal respiratory muscle strength and can voluntarily hyperventilate to lower the PaCO2.

  • Anterior horn cells and neuromuscular junction diseases may be difficult to differentiate from phrenic nerve dysfunction.