Blunt abdominal trauma in adults: role of CT in the diagnosis and management of visceral injuries Part 1: Liver and spleen
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Computed tomography is now widely used in the initial diagnostic workup of adult trauma victims with suspected intra-abdominal injuries. We review the role of CT in the detection and management of blunt visceral injuries in two parts. In the first part we discuss general aspects of performing CT in the setting of abdominal trauma and the diagnostic findings of intra-abdominal hemorrhage and blunt hepatic and splenic injuries. Hepatic and splenic injuries can be detected by means of CT with a high accuracy. The vast majority of hepatic injuries can be successfully managed conservatively, even when CT demonstrates parenchymal damage of more than three segments and major hemoperitoneum. Delayed complications, e. g., formation of biloma or a false aneurysm, can be readily detected on repeat CT studies, although they are quite uncommon. The outcome of conservative treatment of splenic injuries remains unpredictable because delayed splenic rupture may occur even when initial CT shows only minor parenchymal lesions and little or no intraperitoneal hemorrhage.
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