Blunt abdominal injury in the young pediatric patient: child abuse and patient outcomes

Child Maltreat. 2004 Feb;9(1):111-7. doi: 10.1177/1077559503260310.


This study sought to evaluate injury causes and patient outcomes in young children with abdominal injuries. Cases of blunt abdominal injury (N = 927) to children ages 0 to 4 years were extracted from the National Pediatric Trauma Registry. Measures included hospital utilization (days hospitalized, intensive care unit use, and surgery) and patient outcome (in-hospital fatality, discharge to rehabilitation facility, home rehabilitation, and home nursing). The three most common mechanisms of abdominal injury were motor vehicles (61.27%), child abuse (15.75%), and falls (13.59%). Hospital utilization was higher in patients with multisystem injuries. Patient outcomes were more severe in abused children or those with concomitant central nervous system (CNS) injury; these were the only variables independently associated with increased mortality in this sample. Pediatric abdominal trauma leads to intense use of hospital resources and a high risk of in-hospital mortality. Child abuse, compared to falls, is independently associated with a 6-fold increase in in-hospital mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / mortality*
  • Abdominal Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / rehabilitation*