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What causes phrenic nerve damage?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1992
Answered : 621 Questions
I have phrenic nerve damage causing dyspnea on minor exertion (going up stairs) and orthopnea when lying down in the supine position (based ona sniff test, my diaphram functions well). Is there anything I can do to repair the phrenic nerve damage? Would I benefit from surgery or is my case since I do not have diaphragm problem, would it be best to stay away from surgery altogether. Also, I take an antidepressant (Sertraline). Could this have an effect on my phrenic nerve. I just want to know if there's any hope that this problem could be remedied.
Posted Mon, 24 Feb 2014 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Behar Greca 3 hours later
Brief Answer: First of all you need an exact diagnose... Detailed Answer: Hi, thank you for posting. I think that first of all you need an exact diagnose to determine the causes of phrenic nerve damage. The first cause of phrenic nerve damage is C3 and C4 vertebraes arthritis(neck arthritis). The other causes are from abdominal pain and more exactly gallbladder disease. Antidepressant in your case Sertraline has side effects but this antidepressant isn't related with phrenic nerve damage. However to determine the diagnose you need: - Neck X-ray. - Abdominal ultrasound and Ct scan to check diaphragm and gallbladder. Surgery is used when you have gallbladder pathology that needs a surgical intervention. You should contact a neurologist and if it is needed a gastroenterologist. Dr. Behar.
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Follow-up: What causes phrenic nerve damage? 56 minutes later
Based on the information I uploaded (test results), my gullblader is fine. However, Spinal arthritis could certainly be an issue given that I do have some neck and spams problems. If that is the case, for the damage cause to the phrenic nerve, is the dyspnea/orthopnea going to be a chronic condition?
Answered by Dr. Behar Greca 54 minutes later
Brief Answer: Dyspnea/Orthopnea are temporary... Detailed Answer: I read the test result and I noticed that your gallbladder is fine, so I think that surgical procedure isn't needed. You shouldn't worry because dyspnea/orthopnea are not going to be a chronic condition, because there are other factors that affect dyspnea. These factors are: hypokalemia(low kalium level in blood) and hypophosphatemia(low low phosphate level in blood). Dyspnea/Orthopnea are temporary. Dr. Behar.
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