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January 1970

Blast Injuries of the Chest and Abdomen

Author Affiliations

From the Medical Corps, Israeli Defense Forces, Israel.

Arch Surg. 1970;100(1):24-30. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340190026008

On Oct 21, 1967, the destroyer Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missile boats opposite Port-Said. The sailors deserted the ship and while they were in the water another missile appeared, missing the destroyer and exploding in the water. This underwater explosion resulted in immersion-blast injuries to many of the sailors who survived the direct hit.

Blast injuries were described in the early 1920's.1 Some experience with the clinical syndrome, the pathology, and pathophysiology was gained by the Allies and the Germans in World War II. The injury is rare during peace time and there have been no publications on underwater-blast injuries since the end of World War II.

This paper deals with 32 blast-injured sailors of the destroyer Eilat who were still in hospital during the second week after the injury. Subserosal hemorrhage or tears of the bowel or both proven at laparotomy were accepted as proof of intraabdominal