[Gastrointestinal and mesenteric injuries in the trauma patient: incidence, diagnosis delay and prognosis]

Cir Esp. 2009 Jul;86(1):17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ciresp.2009.01.015. Epub 2009 May 28.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: Gastrointestinal and mesenteric injuries (GIMI) are uncommon in trauma patients, and their diagnosis are often delayed. Our aims were to determine the reliability of CT scan in our centre, and to assess the clinical significance of a delayed diagnosis.

Materials and method: Retrospective analysis of cases confirmed at laparotomy. Patients were identified at the Severe Trauma Registry of Gregorio Marañón University General Hospital, between 1993 and 2006.

Results: We found 105 (16.6%) GIMI out of 632 patients with abdominal trauma, in a Registry with 1495 severe trauma cases included. A total of 46% had blunt injuries. The mean injury severity score (ISS) and new ISS (NISS) were 20 and 25, respectively. There were 9 (8.5%) deaths, 4 of which were unexpected. A CT scan was performed in 56 (53%) cases, and only in 37 there were signs suggestive of a GIMI. In another 43 (41%) patients an urgent laparotomy was indicated because of positive clinical findings or instability. Surgery was delayed for more than 8 hours in 21 (20%) patients, the most common reason being a false negative result in the CT scan.

Conclusions: The overall incidence of GIMI was high in our centre (31% due to penetration and 10.7% blunt trauma). Several factors, such as the initial lack of symptoms, a low diagnostic sensitivity of the CT scan (34% false negatives), and the non-surgical management of solid organ injuries, have contributed to a delayed diagnosis and treatment in one out of each five patients in our series, but this has not led to a significant increase in septic complications in this group.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Trees
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesentery / injuries*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery