, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 62-67

The role of sonography in abdominal trauma: The European experience

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Abdominal trauma may be a life-threatening entity. Whereas computed tomography (CT) seems to be the major noninvasive diagnostic tool for evaluation of abdominal trauma in the United States, sonography is the modality of first choice in the majority of European hospitals. Sonography has replaced diagnostic peritoneal lavage for detecting or excluding intraperitoneal free blood. We advocate sonography for any polytrauma patient in the trauma emergency room (TER), because it is a quickly performed, repeatable, and inexpensive imaging modality, serving as a decision-maker in the TER and enabling the avoidance of unnecessary CT. We strongly believe that radiologists should make full use of the potential of ultrasound in the TER. Radiologists should have access to, and experience with, CT as well as sonography, allowing an unbiased decision as to which modality is adequate to answer the specific questions raised by different trauma patients. This article defines the role of sonography in the TER and compares it with CT.