(Science: gastroenterology, surgery) a type of hernia that occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm (where the oesophagus normally passes through). Obesity and smoking are considered risk factors. Hiatal hernia is often associated with reflux oesophagitis.
symptoms include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, chest pain and belching.
treatment includes H2 antagonists, antacids and medications which strengthen the lower oesophageal sphincter.