1,000 consecutive ultrasounds for blunt abdominal trauma

J Trauma. 1996 Apr;40(4):607-10; discussion 611-2. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199604000-00015.


Diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL) and computed tomography (CT) are the primary diagnostic modalities used in the evaluation of patients with suspected blunt abdominal trauma (BAT). DPL is fast and accurate but is associated with complications. CT is also accurate, yet requires stability and transportability of the patients. Ultrasound (US) has been suggested as an aid in evaluating BAT. We evaluated US in the initial assessment of BAT in 1000 patients. Patients were eligible for the study if they met specified trauma criteria and had suspected BAT. We then followed the outcome of the patients and their further work-up. US showed a sensitivity of 88%, a specificity of 99%, and an accuracy of 97% for detecting intraabdominal injuries. We conclude that emergency ultrasound may be used as the initial diagnostic modality for suspected blunt abdominal trauma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnosis
  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peritoneal Lavage
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging*