Blunt Abdominal Injury : General Considerations

Injuries to the abdomen are divided into BLUNT and PENETRATING injuries. Most penetrating abdominal injuries are sustained via stab wounds or gun shot wounds. Their management is relatively straight forward, requiring surgery (exploratory laparotomy) if there has been complete penetration of the abdominal wall. Cases of questionable penetration can be further investigated with peritoneal lavage. This test involves the introduction of a thin, flexible plastic catheter placed through a small incision made by the umbilicus (belly button). Through this tube, fluid is introduced into the abdomen, then allowed to "run back out." Microscopic analysis of the fluid for blood may indicate the presence or absence of significant internal injury. This test will tell the doctor if the patient requires emergency surgery.

BLUNT abdominal injury represents a greater diagnostic challenge to the physician. These injuries can be as severe as the penetrating type, but more difficult to diagnose. Classic examples of blunt abdominal injury are provided daily on our nation's highways. The spleen and liver are the most commonly injured organs in blunt abdominal trauma. Diagnostic accuracy has been greatly enhanced by peritoneal lavage and CT-scanning of the abdomen. This painless x-ray allows the doctor to view the internal organs, enabling a quick decision as to the proper therapeutic approach. Both of these organs are quite vascular (containing many blood vessels) and hemorrhagic shock (due to internal bleeding), followed by death, is quite common in severe, and/or untreated cases.

Common symptoms of serious abdominal injury are: prolonged nausea and vomiting, dizziness upon standing, fainting, rapid heart rate (greater than 100 beats per minute), abdominal pain and swelling. Any penetrating abdominal wound is serious, even with the absence of the above symptoms.

All serious abdominal injuries should be evaluated by a qualified emergency physician. A general surgeon will be consulted where appropriate.


12 Hip Dislocation
12 Hip Fracture
12 Insect Stings and Spider Bites
12 Human and Animal Bites
12 Shoulder Injury Fracture
12 Toxic Inhalations and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
12 Facial Injury Jaw Fracture and Dislocation
12 Kidney Injury
12 Knee Injury General Considerations
12 Knee Injury Contusion
12 Knee Injury Fracture
12 Knee Injury Sprain
12 Stab Wounds
12 Leg Injury Fractures and Contusions
12 Leg Injury Shin Splints
12 Lightning Injury
12 Oral and Tongue Injuries
12 Nasal Fracture or Contusion
12 Neck Injury General Considerations
12 Neck Injury Fracture
12 Neck Injury Spinal Cord Injury
12 Pelvic Bone Fracture
12 Puncture Wounds
12 Chest Injury Rib Fracture
12 Back Injury Sacrococcygeal Injury
12 Scorpion Bites
12 Abrasion Injuries
12 Shoulder Injury Clavicle Fracture
12 Shoulder Injury Strains and Sprains
12 Snakebite
12 Neck Injury Spinal Cord Injury
12 Abdominal Injury Ruptured Spleen
12 Foot Injury Toe Fracture and Sprain
12 Vaginal or Vulvar Injury
12 Drowning and Near Drowning


Abdominal Injury
Abdominal Injury: Contusion
Animal Bites
Ankle Fracture
Ankle Injury
Ankle Injury: Contusion
Ankle Sprain
Back Injury
Back Injury : Sacrococcygeal Injury
Back Strain
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Chemical Burns
Chest Injuries
Chest Injury: Aortic Rupture
Chest Injury: Hemothorax
Chest Injury: Myocardial Contusion
Chest Injury : Pneumothorax
Chest Injury: Pulmonary Contusion
Chronic Back Pain
Clavicle Fracture
Compression Fractures
Decompression Sickness
Disc Disease
Gunshot Wounds
Hand Injury: Fingertip Amputations
Head Injury
Liver Injury
Marine Stings
Muscle Strains
Rib Fracture
Ruptured Spleen
Shoulder Injury: A-C Separation
Spider Bites
Spinal Cord Injury
Sternum Fracture
Testicular Injury
Wrist Injury
hi Scuba Related Injuries
i Hand Injury Finger Amputaion
de Lecerations
de Cold Injury and Hypothermia
dd Dental Injury
xs Facial Injury
sdf Neck Injury
e Shoulder Injury Dislocation
e Ear Injury
ed Elbow Injury
de Elbow Injury Fracture
dfe Elbow Injury Nursemaids
ee Electrical Injury
de Eye Injury
ed Facial Injury General Considerations
fr Facial Injury Contusion
ed Hand Injury Finger Sprains
ded Fingernail and Toenail Injuries
dd Hand Injury Fractures
23 Head Injury Skull Fracture and Concussion
44 Chest Injury Myocardial Contusion
fde Heat Illness
ed Hest Injury Hemothorax
y Back Injury Disc Disease
;l High Altitude Illness

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