Send to

Choose Destination
J Trauma. 1989 Dec;29(12):1628-32.

Evaluation of blunt abdominal trauma occurring during pregnancy.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore.


Evaluation of abdominal trauma in pregnant patients presents a number of dilemmas. Few series compare the various modalities available in this situation. The present review characterizes various techniques and their results. The charts of all patients with a secondary diagnosis of pregnancy admitted to a Level I trauma center over a 7 1/2-year period were reviewed. Forty were considered to have sustained possible blunt abdominal trauma: 30 were occupants in motor vehicle collisions, five were pedestrians, four sustained falls, and one was riding a motorcycle. Immediate laparotomy for emergency caesarean section or other indications was performed in three cases (7%). In 13 cases (32%) evaluation was accomplished by diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL). Three patients (7%) underwent computerized tomography of the abdomen. The remaining 22 patients (55%) were observed with serial physical exams, and hematocrits. The group that was observed had a mean ISS of 5.9. The mean Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) was 14.9. No patients had to undergo exploratory laparotomy for abdominal injury during hospitalization. In the 13 patients undergoing DPL, the mean ISS was 34.6, and the mean GCS was 10.6. Overall accuracy was 92% with no major complications. Pregnant patients sustaining minor injuries and blunt abdominal trauma may be safely observed. Those with major injuries, shock, altered mental status, or neurologic deficit require further studies to rule out intra-abdominal injury. Diagnostic peritoneal lavage proved to be safe and accurate in these patients. Diagnostic peritoneal lavage proved to be safe and accurate in these patients. CT scan and ultrasonography are other modalities which merit further assessment as a primary diagnostic technique in abdominal trauma occurring during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center