The Role of Ultrasound in the Management of Blunt Abdominal Trauma

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Abstract

Patients with blunt abdominal trauma are often hemodynamically unstable and frequently unconscious. A decision for laparotomy must to be established rapidly in the case of severe intra-abdominal injuries in order to keep mortality as low as possible; however, only 30% of our patients with blunt abdominal trauma had such lesions necessitating surgery. Diagnostic investigations immediately after admission therefore aim at providing reliable criteria to identify the patients who require emergency surgery. The amount of free fluid in the abdomen is more important in this than the exact location of the injury. Peritoneal lavage, computed tomography, ultrasound (US), and recently laparoscopy have been reported to provide good results in the diagnostic management of patients with blunt abdominal trauma. In our hands, US has proven both reliable and accurate in identifying blunt abdominal trauma.