Computed tomography for evaluation of abdominal wall hernias—what is the value of the Valsalva maneuver?

S. Ghafoor, A. T. Hoppe, M. Lange, A. Tognella, M. Bueter, K. Lehmann, H. Alkadhi, D. Stocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the differences in the visibility and size of abdominal wall hernias in computed tomography (CT) with and without Valsalva maneuver. Methods: This single-center retrospective study included consecutive patients who underwent abdominal CTs with Valsalva maneuver between January 2018 and January 2022. Inclusion criteria was availability of an additional non-Valsalva CT within 6 months. A combined reference standard including clinical and surgical findings was used. Two independent, blinded radiologists measured the hernia sac size and rated hernia visibility on CTs with and without Valsalva. Differences were tested with a Wilcoxon signed rank test and McNemar’s test. Results: The final population included 95 patients (16 women; mean age 46 ± 11.6 years) with 205 hernias. Median hernia sac size on Valsalva CT was 31 mm compared with 24 mm on non-Valsalva CT (p < 0.001). In 73 and 82% of cases, the hernias were better visible on CT with Valsalva as compared to that without. 14 and 17% of hernias were only visible on the Valsalva CT. Hernia visibility on non-Valsalva CT varied according to subtype, with only 0 and 3% of umbilical hernias not being visible compared with 43% of femoral hernias. Conclusions: Abdominal wall hernias are larger and better visible on Valsalva CT compared with non-Valsalva CT in a significant proportion of patients and some hernias are only visible on the Valsalva CT. Therefore, this method should be preferred for the evaluation of abdominal wall hernias.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Hernia
  • Inguinal
  • Multidetector computed tomography
  • Valsalva Maneuver


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