Diaphragmatic injuries: What has changed over a 20-year period?

Peter P. Lopez, Jorge Arango, Theresa M. Gallup, Stephen M. Cohn, John Myers, Michael Corneille, Ronald Stewart, Daniel L. Dent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Traumatic diaphragmatic injuries are uncommon events but are associated with a high mortality. We hypothesize that injury pattern has changed over time with increasing prevalence of blunt injuries. A retrospective chart review was performed of 124 patients who sustained traumatic diaphragmatic injuries over the 20-year period between January 1, 1986 and December 31, 2005. Penetrating trauma accounted for 65 per cent (80/124) of all diaphragm injuries, and blunt trauma for 35 per cent (44/124). Mean Injury Severity Scores of 19 ± 9 and 34 ± 13 were observed for the penetrating and blunt trauma groups, respectively (P = 0.001). Blunt traumatic diaphragm injuries increased from 13 per cent in the first 10-year period to 66 per cent in the second 10-year period (P = 0.001). The overall mortality was 9 per cent (11/124) with 10 deaths resulting from blunt trauma and one resulting from penetrating trauma (P < 0.001). The mortality rate increased from 3 to 17 per cent over the two decades (P = 0.007). Our data suggests that over the last 20 years, the increase in mortality associated with traumatic diaphragmatic injury is primarily related to an increase in the proportion of patients with blunt trauma as a cause of their diaphragmatic injury and associated injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-516
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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