Fascial ultrasound for evaluation of anterior abdominal stab wound injury

Joseph T Murphy, Jason Hall, David Provost
Journal of Trauma 2005, 59 (4): 843-6

BACKGROUND: Local stab wound (SW) exploration to assess abdominal fascial integrity is a highly invasive procedure frequently performed under demanding circumstances in the Emergency Department (ED). We hypothesized ultrasound (U/S) may be useful in the detection of fascial defects resulting from anterior abdominal stab injury, eliminating the need for local wound exploration

METHODS: Thirty-five hemodynamically normal patients evaluated at a Level I trauma center for anterior abdominal stab wounds were examined by U/S (8 mHz probe) for evidence of fascial violation. All patients were subsequently evaluated by local wound exploration

RESULTS: Fascial U/S had an overall sensitivity of 59% and specificity of 100%, (PPV 100%, NPV 59%) for detection of fascial SW defects compared with local wound exploration. The sensitivity of fascial U/S for stab wound evaluation varied directly with experience of the sonographer

CONCLUSIONS: A positive fascial U/S obviates the need for invasive SW exploration; however, a negative fascial U/S does not preclude the need for local wound exploration. Resident U/S training for specific penetrating injuries may reduce the need for abdominal SW fascial exploration in the ED.

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