Concomitant Blunt Enteric Injuries with Injuries of the Liver and Spleen: A Dilemma for Trauma Surgeons

Kemmeter, Paul R.; Hoedema, Rebecca E.; Foote, James A.; Scholten, Donald J.
March 2001
American Surgeon;Mar2001, Vol. 67 Issue 3, p221
Academic Journal
Prompt identification of enteric injuries after blunt trauma remains problematic. With the increased utilization of nonoperative management of blunt abdominal trauma gastrointestinal disruptions may escape timely detection and repair. The purpose of this study was to evaluate blunt enteric injuries requiring operative repair in adult patients and the association of concomitant hepatic and/or splenic injuries. Over a 10-year period (January 1990 through December 1999) 1648 patients suffered blunt liver, spleen, and/or enteric injuries, with 87 (5.3%) of these requiring operative repairs of the enteric injury. These patients had enteric injury only (EI) (60.9%; 53 of 87), concomitant enteric/splenic injury (ESI) (10.3%; 9 of 87), concomitant enteric/hepatic injury (EHI) (13.8%; 12 of 87), and enteric/hepatic/splenic injury (EHSI) 14.9% (13 of 87). A delay in treatment of >8 hours from presentation of EI compared with either EHI or ESI was not significantly different between the two groups. EHSI had exploratory laparotomy more expeditiously related to hemodynamic instability. Mortality rates were higher with EHI related to hemorrhagic shock and/or severe traumatic brain injury. Morbidity was not related to a delay in diagnosis until the period of delay was greater than 24 hours. The nonoperative management of blunt solid organ injury does not delay the detection and treatment of concomitant bowel injuries compared with isolated blunt enteric injuries. Occult enteric injury with solid organ injury has a low incidence and represents a continuing challenge to the clinical acumen of the trauma surgeon.


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