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J Trauma. 2004 Feb;56(2):314-22.

Computed tomographic scanning without oral contrast solution for blunt bowel and mesenteric injuries in abdominal trauma.

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Department of Emergency medicine, LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah 84143, USA.



Computed tomographic (CT) scanning using intravenous and oral contrast material has traditionally been advocated for the evaluation of intra-abdominal injury, including blunt bowel and mesenteric injuries (BBMIs). The necessity of oral contrast in detecting these injuries has recently been called into question. The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of CT scanning without oral contrast for BBMIs.


We prospectively enrolled 500 consecutive blunt trauma patients who received CT imaging and interpretation (CT-Read1) of the abdomen from July 2000 to November 2001. All patients were imaged without oral contrast, but with intravenous contrast. CT images were reviewed within 24 hours of admission by a research radiologist (CT-Read2) blinded to CT-Read1. For study purposes, true BBMI was determined to be present if either laparotomy or autopsy identified bowel or mesenteric injury, or both CT-Read2 and the hospital discharge summary described bowel or mesenteric injury. Three-month telephone follow-up was also completed.


CT-Read1 detected 19 of 20 bowel and mesenteric injuries. CT-Read1 missed one duodenal perforation. There were two patients with false-positive interpretations of CT-Read1 for bowel injury. The sensitivity and specificity of CT imaging for the detection of BBMIs were 95.0% and 99.6%, respectively.


CT imaging of the abdomen without oral contrast for detection of BBMIs compares favorably with CT imaging using oral contrast.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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