Blunt abdominal trauma: evaluation of diagnostic options and surgical outcomes

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2008 Jul;14(3):205-10.


Background: In the present study, it is intended to outline the diagnostic tests and their influences on decisions of the surgeon about patients presented with blunt abdominal trauma.

Methods: One hundred forty-four patients (98 males, 46 females; mean age 36; range 17 to 84 years) admitted to Gazi University School of Medicine due to blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) between May 2003-May 2005 were reviewed retrospectively. Age, gender, injury mechanism, Glasgow Coma Scale, revised trauma score, follow-up period, applied diagnostic procedures, and treatment methods were evaluated.

Results: The underlying cause was traffic accident in 126 (87.5%) patients, fall from height in 14 (9.7%) patients, and blows in 4 (2.8%) patients. Isolated abdominal trauma was seen in 21 patients and multisystem trauma in 123 patients. The most frequent associated trauma was head injury (66.6%). Abdominal ultrasonography (USG) was applied in 139 (97%) of the patients, and abdominal computed tomography (CT) was performed in 73 (51%). Diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL) was applied in 41 (28%) patients, and 15 (37%) of them proved to be positive. While emergency laparotomy was applied in 19 (13.2%) of the patients, 21 hemodynamically stable patients were diagnosed to have free fluid through USG and CT and were followed-up. During the follow-up period, 2 patients were scheduled to be operated, and small intestine perforation was found in these patients. The overall mortality rate for all patients was 16%, and the postoperative mortality rate with respect to the operated patients was 14.3%.

Conclusion: If USG, CT, and DPL are applied in a complementary manner, a large number of patients with solid organ injuries secondary to blunt trauma can be managed nonoperatively. Thus, unnecessary laparotomies can be avoided and related morbidities and mortalities decreased.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Abdominal Injuries / surgery*
  • Accidental Falls*
  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnosis
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Trauma / surgery
  • Peritoneal Lavage / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography / methods