Purpose. Emergency abdominal sonography has become a common modality worldwide in the evaluation of injuries caused by blunt trauma. The sensitivity of sonography in the detection of hemoperitoneum varies, and little is known about the accuracy of sonography in the detection of injuries to specific organs. The purpose of this study was to determine the overall accuracy of sonography in the detection of hemoperitoneum and solid-organ injury caused by blunt trauma. Methods. From January 1995 to October 1998, 3,264 patients underwent emergency sonography at our institution to evaluate for free fluid and parenchymal abnormalities of specific organs caused by blunt trauma. All patients with intra-abdominal injuries (IAIs) were identified, and their sonographic findings were compared with their CT and operative findings, as well as their clinical outcomes. Results. Three hundred ninety-six (12%) of the 3,264 patients had IAIs. Sonography detected free fluid presumed to represent hemoperitoneum in 288 patients (9%). The sonographic detection of free fluid alone had a 60% sensitivity, 98% specificity, 82% positive predictive value, and 95% negative predictive value for diagnosing IAI. The accuracy was 94%. Seventy patients (2%) had parenchymal abnormalities identified with sonography that corresponded to actual organ injuries. The sensitivity of the sonographic detection of free fluid and/or parenchymal abnormalities in diagnosing IAI was 67%. Conclusions. Emergency sonography to evaluate patients for injury caused by blunt trauma is highly accurate and specific. The sonographic detection of free fluid is only moderately sensitive for diagnosing IAI, but the combination of free fluid and/or a parenchymal abnormality is more sensitive.
- Blunt abdominal trauma injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics