Woman gains new life after hernia surgery From Spotlight on Health - Winter 2011
As a hard-working farm woman all of her life, Louise Rice, 76, began to notice a decreased appetite and shortness of breath after brief walks near her home in Hanley Falls. Her primary care doctor ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check her heart, but the EKG revealed a healthy heart so Rice just learned to “live with it.”
It was during their lake vacation in August 2010 that Rice became more nauseous and decided to return to her doctor. A chest X-ray showed she had a hiatal hernia with most of her stomach and part of her colon in her chest. She was referred to CentraCare Clinic surgeon Christian Schmidt, MD, for laparascopic surgery.
“Her hiatal hernia was pushing against her lungs and heart causing the symptoms she was experiencing,” Dr. Schmidt said.
Rice noticed improvement right after the surgery. “I feel 100 percent better now and find it hard to sit around,” stated Rice. “Even my clothes fit better because I’m not swollen on the left side any longer.”
A hiatal hernia happens when part of the stomach bulges up through the diaphragm and into the chest. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the belly (abdomen) from the chest. The hernia bulges through the diaphragm at a place called the hiatus. This is the opening in the diaphragm the esophagus passes through. The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.