OverviewThe diaphragm is a thin dome-shaped muscle which separates the thoracic cavity (lungs and heart) from the abdominal cavity (intestines, stomach, liver, etc.). It is involved in respiration, drawing downward in the chest on inhalation, and pushing upward in exhalation.
Update Date 5/11/2013
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team.