The observation of Aristotle1 that the intestine of deer is so fragile that a slight blow will cause it to rupture without injuring the skin is probably the first record that we have of injuries of the intestine following an abdominal contusion.
However, it was not until the seventeenth century, when the making of postmortem dissections first became widely practiced, that traumatic intestinal perforation was given its due recognition as an important surgical condition. Bonetus2 describes the case of a huntsman who was dashed violently against a tree by a stag. Later, necropsy disclosed five circular holes in the ileum and cecum, presumably the result of violence sustained by the intestine when distended by fluid.
Morgagni3 mentions several cases of ruptured intestine following the kick of a horse, or a blow from a stick. He believes the pre-disposing cause of the rupture is the fragility of the