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A 34-year-old member asked:

what happens if your diaphragm is half paralyzed? does it mean that you cannot breathe on your own?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Cooke
Thoracic Surgery 22 years experience
Difficulty breathing: Although the diaphragm is one organ, both sides act almost independently, but they need each other for perfect breathing. A nerve on each side of the heart makes the diaphragm move. If that nerve is injured, that particular side of the diaphragm is paralyzed, making breathing difficult. This may be fixed by a surgery called diaphragm plication, performed by a thoracic surgeon.
Dr. Eric Toloza
Dr. Eric Toloza commented
Thoracic Surgery 30 years experience
can still breathe with the other muscles in your chest, the so-called accessory muscles ...
May 23, 2012
Dr. Craig Carter
Thoracic Surgery 40 years experience
No: Breathing is controlled by your diaphragm as well as your chest wall. Having a paralyzed diaphragm will interfere with your breathing, but you will be able to breathe.

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Last updated Apr 21, 2019

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