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When the opening (hiatus) in the muscle between the abdomen and chest (diaphragm) is too large, some of the stomach can slip up into the chest cavity. This can cause heartburn (gastro-esophageal reflux: GER) as gastric acid backflows from the stomach into the esophagus. Hiatal hernia repair is surgery to repair a bulging of stomach tissue through the muscle between the abdomen and chest (diaphragm) into the chest (hiatal hernia).
Hiatal hernia repair may be recommended when the patient has:
- Severe heartburn
- Severe inflammation of the esophagus from the backflow of gastric fluid (reflux)
- Narrowing of the opening (hiatus) through the diaphragm (esophageal stricture)
- Chronic inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia) from frequent breathing in (aspiration) of gastric fluids
Review Date 2/27/2016
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.