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An acute ruptured diaphragm due to blunt trauma was found to be an injury sustained primarily by young men as a result of high speed automobile accidents. It was frequently associated with multiple injuries, such as a ruptured spleen and liver, and skeletal injuries, most commonly pelvic and rib fractures. The chest roentgenogram was diagnostic in ten of the eleven patients although serial films were required in two patients.
When repair was performed early, the diaphragmatic laceration was attended with little mortality and morbidity. If surgery was delayed, serious complications were encountered and consisted of two instances of intrathoracic strangulated hollow viscus and one case of severe acute cardiopulmonary insufficiency. Associated injuries accounted for the remainder of the problems.
In our experience early repair of the lacerated diaphragm is well tolerated and is further indicated to avoid the prolonged illness and technical problems encountered when the ruptured diaphragm is repaired months or years after injury.
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© 1972 Published by Elsevier Inc.