Abdominal Trauma

Abdomen | General Practice | Abdominal Trauma (Disease)


Abdominal trauma is an injury to the abdomen. It may be blunt or penetrating and may involve damage to the abdominal organs.

Early indications of abdominal trauma include nausea, vomiting, and fever. Blood in the urine is another sign.

Causes and Risk factors

Blunt trauma can result from either compression (secondary to a direct blow or against a fixed external object, e. g. seatbelt), or from deceleration forces. The liver and spleen are the most frequently damaged organs.

Penetrating trauma implies that either a gunshot wound (or other high-velocity missile/fragment), shrapnel or a stab wound has entered the abdominal cavity.

The injury may present with abdominal pain, tenderness, distension, or rigidity to the touch, and bowel sounds may be diminished or absent. At least half of the cases of blunt abdominal trauma are caused by motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). These injuries are often associated with head and chest injuries as well. Other causes of blunt injury include falls, aggravated assaults, and contact sports. Penetrating injuries can occur from gunshot wounds, stab wounds, or impalements.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnostic techniques used include CT scanning, ultrasound, and X-ray. Initial treatment of abdominal trauma involves stabilizing the patient enough to ensure adequate airway, breathing, and circulation, and identifying other injuries. Surgery may be needed to repair injured organs. ...