Ultrasound detection of blunt splenic injury

John R Richards, John P McGahan, C. Darryl Jones, Songhua Zhan, Eugenio O Gerscovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity of emergency ultrasound (US) for the detection of blunt splenic injury (BSI), and to describe sonographic parenchymal patterns. Over 3 years, 2138 emergency US were performed, and 162 patients had BSI. CT was performed for 76 patients, and there were 86 laparotomies. Seventy patients (43%) had concomitant intraabdominal injuries. Ultrasound detected free fluid in 109 patients (67%), and parenchymal injury in 31 patients (19%). There were 48 false negative US (30%). Sonographic patterns included a diffuse heterogeneous appearance, hyperechoic and hypoechoic perisplenic crescents, and discrete hypoechoic or hyperechoic areas within the spleen. Overall sensitivity of US for detection of BSI was 69%, but was 86% for grade III or higher injuries. Ultrasound is most sensitive for the detection of grade III or higher BSI based on the presence of haemoperitoneum. Ultrasound may also identify BSI on the basis of parenchymal abnormality, with a diffuse heterogeneous pattern most commonly encountered. Sonographic evaluation for both free fluid and parenchymal injury improves sensitivity of US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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