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J Trauma. 1993 May;34(5):607-10; discussion 610-1.

Blunt abdominal trauma in children: the practical value of ultrasonography.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Hôpital Sainte-Justine, University of Montreal, Canada.


The occult nature of blunt abdominal trauma justifies the need for reliable diagnostic adjuncts to physical examination. From June 1988 to June 1991, 259 children admitted to the general surgery/trauma service underwent abdominal ultrasonographic scanning (US). A total of 116 abdominal lesions were found in 81 patients. Ultrasonography alone had a sensitivity of 89%, a specificity of 96%, and an overall accuracy of 94%, as determined against the overall diagnostic workup and clinical course (mean follow-up, 17.4 weeks). In 44% of the patients, US was used alone; in 49% one or two additional tests were performed, and in only 7% were three or more tests required. Compared with computed tomography, US is more versatile, easier to perform in children, and more cost effective, even with the addition of a functional imaging modality. Although not demonstrated by this preliminary, retrospective study, Doppler US appears to be the logical complement to abdominal ultrasonography in the evaluation of children with blunt abdominal trauma.

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