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Unfallchirurg. 2004 Oct;107(10):892-902.

[Shock trauma room diagnosis: initial diagnosis after blunt abdominal trauma. A review of the literature].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Centrum für Muskuloskeletale Chirurgie, Klinik für Unfall- und Wiederherstellungschirurgie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin.



Blunt abdominal trauma is most common in the polytraumatized patient and beside neurocranial trauma one major determinant of early death in these patients. Therefore, immediate recognition of an abdominal injury is of life-saving importance.


Clinical trials were systematically collected (Medline, Cochrane and hand searches) and classified into evidence levels (1 to 5 according to the Oxford system).


Clinical examination is not reliable for evaluation of abdominal injury. Abdominal ultrasound, especially if only focusing on free fluid (FAST) is not sensitive enough. Today, CT-scan of the abdomen is the gold-standard in diagnosing abdominal injury. Diagnostic Peritoneal Lavage (DPL) has a high sensitivity but in our region only is used in exceptional cases. The patient with continuing hemodynamical instability after abdominal trauma and evidence of free intraperitonial fluid has to undergo laparotomy.


After blunt abdominal trauma, initially ultrasound investigation should be performed in the emergency room. This should not only focus on free intraabdominal fluid but also on organ lesions. Regardless of the findings from ultrasound or clinical examination, the hemodynamically stable patient should undergo a CT-scan of the abdomen in order to proof or exclude an abdominal injury.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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