Multidetector CT: detection of active hemorrhage in patients with blunt abdominal trauma

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2002 Aug;179(2):437-44. doi: 10.2214/ajr.179.2.1790437.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the imaging findings and the prevalence of active hemorrhage on contrast-enhanced multidetector CT in patients with blunt abdominal trauma.

Materials and methods: Contrast-enhanced multidetector CT images of 165 patients with blunt abdominal trauma were reviewed for the presence of extravasated contrast agent, a finding that represents active hemorrhage. The site and appearance of the hemorrhage were noted on multidetector CT images. These findings were compared with surgical and angiographic results or with clinical follow-up.

Results: On multidetector CT images, active hemorrhage was detected in 22 (13%) of 165 patients with a total of 24 bleeding sites (14 intraperitoneal sites and 10 extraperitoneal sites). Active hemorrhage was visible most frequently as a jet of extravasated contrast agent (10/24 bleeding sites [42%]). Diffuse or focal extravasation was less frequently seen (nine [37%] and five [21%] bleeding sites, respectively). CT attenuation values measured in the aorta (mean, 199 H) were significantly higher than those measured in extravasated contrast material (mean, 155 H) (p < 0.001). Sixteen (73%) of 22 patients with active bleeding on multidetector CT images underwent immediate surgical or angiographic intervention. One patient received angiographic therapy 10 hr after undergoing multidetector CT, and five patients died between 1 and 3 hr after multidetector CT examination.

Conclusion: Active hemorrhage in patients after blunt abdominal trauma is most frequently visible as a jet of extravasated contrast agent on multidetector CT. When extravasation is detected, immediate surgical or angiographic therapy is required.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney / injuries
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spleen / diagnostic imaging
  • Spleen / injuries
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Triiodobenzoic Acids
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging*


  • Contrast Media
  • Triiodobenzoic Acids
  • iodixanol