What Is a Retrocardiac Hiatal Hernia?

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.

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.