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What is a retrocardiac hiatal hernia?

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A retrocardiac hiatal hernia is a medical condition that occurs behind the heart, where portions of the abdomen push through the chest via a hole in the diaphragm. Several causes that are attributed to the formation of a hiatal hernia include trauma to the area, congenital abnormal enlargement of the esophageal hiatus and chronic pressure on the muscles surrounding the diaphragm, as explained by Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Commonly observed symptoms for hiatal hernias include pain and discomfort in the upper mid-abdominal region and below the breastbone, early satiety, queasiness and vomiting.

A retrocardiac hiatal hernia is diagnosed using chest radiography. The condition is characterized by the presence of a stomach bubble with an air fluid level that is visible on top of the diaphragm. This is typically found in the mid-thoracic cavity behind the heart, according to Access Emergency Medicine.

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