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Am Surg. 1994 Oct;60(10):744-7.

Early morbidity and mortality of non-therapeutic operations for penetrating trauma.

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  • 1Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center 90033.


A retrospective study was performed in order to evaluate early morbidity and mortality associated with non-therapeutic operations for penetrating trauma. Over a 3-year period, 1,062 operations were performed on 1,015 patients for penetrating injury: abdomen 860, chest 103, neck 40, and extremities 58. A total of 230 (21.7%) of these operations were non-therapeutic. The incidence of significant complications directly related to the anesthesia or operation in this group of patients was 8.2 per cent. One patient with an additional major thoracic injury died secondary to complications related to a non-therapeutic abdominal operation (0.4%). The average hospital stay for uncomplicated non-therapeutic operations was 5.1 days, and for patients with complications 11.9 days. We conclude that non-therapeutic operations for penetrating trauma are associated with significant morbidity and mortality that must be considered when designing management schemes for penetrating injury.

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