Study aim: The aim of the study was an estimation of the incidence and clinical aspects of emergency room (ER) parameters of penetrating abdominal injury patients with bowel evisceration.
Study design and methods: The study involved a retrospective cohort analysis of ER data from the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospitals, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa between September 2000 to May 2005.
Results: Out of 9,010 ER patients, 4,390 suffered penetrating injuries with 8 out of 71 eviscerations due to a single gunshot wound, 60 out of 71 eviscerations due to single stab wounds and 3 further patients suffered multiple injuries. The ER mortality was 1 out of 71(1.6 %) with an average ER mortality of 4.2 %. The only death seen was a single abdominal gunshot wound with vascular injury. The causative mortality due to abdominal stab wounds with evisceration of the bowels was therefore zero. The heart rate in patients with abdominal stab wounds with and without bowel evisceration showed no significant difference, thus mesentery tearing or vagal overstimulation could not be seen, neither with bradycardia nor hypotension.
Conclusion: Evisceration itself is not a cause for increased mortality or cardiovascular instability seen in the ER. There is ample time for diagnostic procedures before laparotomy is performed.