Clinical outcomes and effect of delayed intervention in patients with hollow viscus injury due to blunt abdominal trauma: a systematic review

  • Christopher Harmston
  • James Benjamin Marsden Ward
  • Abhilasha Patel
Review Article



Hollow viscus injury (HVI) due to blunt abdominal trauma remains a diagnostic challenge, often presenting late and results in delayed intervention. Despite several treatment algorithms, there is currently no consensus on how to manage patients with HVI. The aim of this review was to define clinical outcomes and the effect of delayed intervention in patients with HVI due to blunt abdominal trauma. The primary outcome of interest was difference in mortality between groups.


Based on the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses statement, a literature search was performed. Studies comparing clinical outcomes in adult patients with hollow viscus injury due to blunt abdominal trauma undergoing early or delayed laparotomy were included. Two independent reviewers screened the abstracts.


In all, 2288 articles were retrieved. After screening, 11 studies were included. Outcomes in 3812 patients were reported. Overall mortality was 17%. Ten studies reported no difference in mortality between groups. A statistical increase in morbidity was described in five studies, and a trend to increased morbidity was seen in a further two studies. Two studies reported increased mortality in delayed intervention in isolated bowel injury.


This systematic review summarises the results of studies considering outcomes in patients with HVI due to blunt abdominal trauma who have early vs delayed intervention. Overall mortality was significant at 17%. If all patients with hollow viscus injury are considered, the majority of studies do not show an increase in mortality. As patients with isolated bowel injuries have higher mortality in the studies reviewed, to improve outcomes in this subset further investigation is warranted.


Blunt abdominal trauma Hollow viscus injury Trauma laparotomy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interests that could inappropriately influence or bias their work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Whangarei HospitalNorthlandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Portsmouth HospitalPortsmouthUK
  3. 3.University Hospitals of North StaffordshireWest MidlandsUK

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