This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Diaphragmatic flutter is a disease in which there are repeated involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the heart and lungs from the abdomen. The abnormal flutter of the diaphragm affects the way the lungs can expand and contract during breathing. Symptoms of diaphragmatic flutter may include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, heart palpitations, and chest pain. Symptoms usually worsen during the day and with stress. Diaphragmatic flutter often occurs in combination with contraction of other muscles used to breath (respiratory muscles).
The cause of diaphragmatic flutter is not well understood. It has been associated with many other medical issues, including inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stroke, and tumors of the spine and chest. The diagnosis of diaphragmatic flutter is suspected based on symptoms and may be confirmed by different methods of monitoring the movement of the diaphragm, such as ultrasound. Treatment may include use of certain anti-seizure medications and/or antipsychotic medications. If medication is not successful, procedures to try to control the movement of the diaphragm (diaphragm pacer stimulation) or to stop movement of the diaphragm, such as damaging one of the two main nerves to the diaphragm (phrenic nerve crush), may also be used.
For more information, visit GARD.