The first case of congenital absence of the left half of the diaphragm, although reported by Harris and Clayton-Greene1 in 1912, appears to have been overlooked since that time (figs. 1 and 2). Without doubt many cases recorded as hernia of the diaphragm have really been cases of congenital absence of the left half of the diaphragm. Even roentgenologists have not recognized the true nature of these cases. Surgical operations have been undertaken under an erroneous diagnosis of hernia, and attempts to overcome the defect have failed.
Attention is called to the fact that the diaphragm is not essential to life. One should never lose sight of the fact that complete absence of the diaphragm is normal in all animals below mammals.2 It is of interest that a bird such as the ostrich, which is noted for its strength and endurance, has no diaphragm. In one of the
LeWALD LT. CONGENITAL ABSENCE OF LEFT HALF OF THE DIAPHRAGM: DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS FROM EVENTRATION, HERNIA AND THORACIC STOMACH, WITH A REPORT OF THREE CASES. Arch Surg. 1927;14(1):332–344. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1927.01130130336020
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