Incidence and significance of free fluid on abdominal computed tomographic scan in blunt trauma

K J Brasel, C J Olson, R E Stafford, T J Johnson
Journal of Trauma 1998, 44 (5): 889-92

OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence and significance of free fluid on abdominal CT in blunt trauma.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

METHODS: All blunt trauma patients with an abdominal computed tomographic scan from August of 1993 to December of 1995 were identified from the trauma registry at a Level 1 trauma center. A total of 1,159 computed tomographic scans were performed; records of 18 patients were excluded for incomplete records. Official reports of computed tomographic scans were reviewed for free fluid, solid organ injury, bladder injury, and pelvic fracture.

RESULTS: Free fluid without solid organ injury was found in 3% (34 of 1141). Laparotomy was performed because of free fluid in 13 patients. There were six small bowel injuries and one diaphragm injury for a therapeutic laparotomy rate of 54%. Ten patients had trace free fluid and did not undergo laparotomy; none had a missed small bowel injury.

CONCLUSIONS: The presence of more than trace amounts of free fluid without solid organ injury in patients with blunt trauma is a strong indication for exploratory laparotomy. Patients with isolated trace amounts of free fluid can be safely observed.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"