Background: Penetrating abdominal trauma (PAT) has been traditionally treated by exploratory laparotomy (EL). The aim of our study was to examine the use of diagnostic laparoscopy (DL) in the management of hemodynamically stable patients with PAT.
Methods: A prospective study was performed to compare the outcomes of hemodynamically stable patients with suspected intra-abdominal injuries due to abdominal stab wounds who underwent either EL or DL. Data extracted for analysis included demographic information, operative findings, rates of non-therapeutic laparotomy, operation time, length of hospital stay, mortality, and postoperative complications.
Results: Fifty-two hemodynamically stable patients were admitted to the trauma service. There were 45 male (86.5%) and 7 female (13.5%) patients. The average age was 34.5 years-old (18-60). 26 (50%) patients underwent EL, and 26 (50%) patients underwent DL. Re-exploration by laparotomy was required in 9 of the 26 cases (34.6%). Patients who underwent DL had significantly shorter hospital stays (1.82±0.63 days vs. 5.4±2.1 days, p<0.05) and shorter operation time (17.9±6.38 vs. 68.4±33.2 min, p<0.05) than patients who underwent EL.
Conclusion: Selective use of DL in the hemodinamically stable penetrating trauma patients effectively decreased the rate of negative laparotomies, minimized morbidity, and decreased hospital stay.