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Orthopnea is a sensation of shortness of breath, which occurs in recumbent position and is usually improved by standing or sitting. The authors report a case of an 81-year-old woman presented to the Emergency Department with a two-week history of orthopnea, fever and low back pain resistant to analgesics. Radiological findings confirm the presence of a diafragmatic hernia, and clinicians should pay attention to any history of trauma, because their absence in symptomatic adult patients directs towards a congenital cause. A surgical repair should be promptly obtained to avoid further general and respiratory deterioration.
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