Abdominal blast injuries: different patterns, severity, management, and prognosis according to the main mechanism of injury

  • F Turégano-FuentesEmail author
  • D Pérez-Diaz
  • M Sanz-Sánchez
  • R Alfici
  • I Ashkenazi
Original Article



To review the frequency, different patterns, anatomic severity, management, and prognosis of abdominal injuries in survivors of explosions, according to the main mechanism of injury.


A MEDLINE search was conducted from January 1982 to August 2013, including the following MeSH terms: blast injuries, abdominal injuries. EMBASE was also searched, with the same entries. Abdominal blast injuries (ABIs) have been defined as injuries resulting not only from the effects of the overpressure on abdominal organs, but also from the multimechanistic effects and projectile fragments resulting from the blast. Special emphasis was placed on the detailed assessment of ABIs in patients admitted to GMUGH (Gregorio Marañón University General Hospital) after the Madrid 2004 terrorist bombings, and in patients admitted to HYMC (Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre) in Hadera (Israel) following several bombing episodes. The anatomic severity of injuries was assessed by the abdominal component of the AIS, and the overall anatomic severity of casualties was assessed by means of the NISS.


Abdominal injuries are not common in survivors of terrorist explosions, although they are a frequent finding in those immediately killed. Primary and tertiary blast injuries have predominated in survivors from explosions in enclosed spaces reported outside of Israel. In contrast, secondary blast injuries causing fragmentation wounds were predominant in suicide bombings in open and/or semi-confined spaces, mainly in Israel, and also in military conflicts. Multiple perforations of the ileum seem to be the most common primary blast injury to the bowel, but delayed bowel perforations are rare. Secondary blast injuries carry the highest anatomic severity and mortality rate. Most of the deaths assessed occurred early, with hemorrhagic shock from penetrating fragments as the main contributing factor. The negative laparotomy rate has been very variable, with higher rates reported, in general, from civilian hospitals attending a large number of casualties.


The pattern, severity, management, and prognosis of ABI vary considerably, in accordance with the main mechanism of injury.


Blast injuries Abdominal injuries Fragment wounds Explosions 


Conflict of interest

F. Turégano-Fuentes, D. Pérez-Diaz, M. Sanz-Sánchez, R. Alfici, and I. Ashkenazi declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics guidelines

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F Turégano-Fuentes
    • 1
    Email author
  • D Pérez-Diaz
    • 1
  • M Sanz-Sánchez
    • 1
  • R Alfici
    • 2
  • I Ashkenazi
    • 2
  1. 1.General and Emergency Surgery ServiceUniversity General Hospital Gregorio MarañónMadridSpain
  2. 2.General Surgery B ServiceHillel Yaffe Medical CentreHaderaIsrael

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