Blunt abdominal trauma in children: Evaluation with emergency US

John R Richards, Nicolette A. Knopf, Lianyi Wang, John P McGahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To assess the accuracy of emergency abdominal ultrasonography (US) in the detection of both hemoperitoneum and parenchymal organ injury in children. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Imaging findings were recorded prospectively in 744 consecutive children who underwent emergency US from January 1995 to October 1998; free fluid and parenchymal abnormalities of specific organs were also noted. Patients with intraabdominal injuries were identified retrospectively. Computed tomographic (CT) findings, intraoperative findings, and clinical outcome were compared with the initial US findings. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were calculated for patients who underwent CT, laparotomy, or both after US. RESULTS: Seventy-five (10%) of 744 patients had intraabdominal injuries, and US depicted free fluid in 42 of them. US had 56% sensitivity, 97% specificity, 82% positive predictive value, and 91% negative predictive value for detection of hemoperitoneum alone. US helped identify parenchymal abnormalities that corresponded to actual organ injury without accompanying free fluid in nine patients (12%). Inclusion of identification of parenchymal organ injury at US increased the sensitivity of US to 68%, with an accuracy of 92%. CONCLUSION: US for blunt abdominal trauma in children is highly accurate and specific, but moderately sensitive, for detection of intraabdominal injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-754
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Abdomen, CT
  • Abdomen, hemorrhage
  • Abdomen, injuries
  • Abdomen, US
  • Children, injuries
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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