Hiatal hernia

Alternative Names

Hernia – hiatal

Definition of Hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest, through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. It is used in breathing.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause is unknown, but hiatal hernias may be the result of a weakening of the supporting tissue. Increasing age, , and smoking are known risk factors in adults.


The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most symptoms are alleviated with treatment.


Reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. – 8/1/2009

Hiatal hernia - X-ray
Hiatal hernia
Hiatal hernia repair  - series

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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