Low probability of Significant Intra-Abdominal Injury in Stable Patients with Abdominal ‘‘Seat Belt Sign’’

Makrin, Vadim; Wiesel, Ory; Heller, Daniel; Klausner, Joseph M.; Soffer, Dror
August 2009
European Journal of Trauma & Emergency Surgery;Aug2009, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p403
Academic Journal
Our aim was to determine the diagnostic significance of the association between the abdominal skin bruise from a seat belt and the presence of intraabdominal injury. This was an observational analysis of prospectively collected data on 45 patients who presented with an abdominal seat belt sign to a level 1 trauma center following a motor vehicle accident between July 2004 and December 2007. The patients were evaluated by computed tomography (CT) scans or ultrasonography (FAST), depending on their hemodynamic stability. They were then hospitalized for treatment or observation. Forty-five patients [23 males (51.1%) and 22 females (48.9%)], with a mean age of 32.2 years (range 16–80 years), fulfilled entry criteria and were enrolled. Of these, 44 (97.8%) underwent CT, and one (2.2%) underwent FAST due to hemodynamic instability. two patients (4.4%) had intraabdominal injuries: one required surgery for bowel injury, and the other had a minor liver laceration, which was managed expectantly. Sixteen patients (35.5%) had concomitant injuries. The length of hospital stay ranged from 1–23 days (median 2.2 days). Despite the widely accepted view that patients with an abdominal seat belt sign are more likely to have serious intraabdominal injuries, the results of our investigation showed no such association in a group of hemodynamically stable patients.


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