The objective of this study was to assess the utility of emergency ultrasonography in the detection of blunt urological injury. A retrospective review was conducted of all consecutive emergency blunt trauma ultrasonograms (US) obtained at a level I trauma centre from January 1995 to January 2001. Among the 4320 emergency ultrasonograms performed, 596 patients (14%) had intraabdominal injury and, of these, 99 patients (17%) had urological injuries. The sensitivity of ultrasound for all urological injuries was 67%, and specificity was 99.8%. For isolated urological injuries, sensitivity and specificity were 55.6 and 99.8%, respectively. Ultrasound was most accurate in the detection of grade III renal injuries, identifying 14/15 (93%), and 13 underwent laparotomy. For isolated urological injuries, 15 of 25 (60%) patients with a true-positive US underwent laparotomy compared to 3 of 20 (15%) with a false-negative US. Isolated urological injury was significantly associated with an ultrasonographic pattern of free fluid in the left upper quadrant and the left pericolic gutter (odds ratio = 55.1; P < 0.001), followed by isolated fluid in the left pericolic gutter (odds ratio = 8.6; P = 0.04). Although emergency ultrasonography is useful in the triage of patients with blunt urological trauma, it may miss significant urological injury requiring further intervention. As most renal injuries may be managed non-operatively, further studies such as contrast-enhanced CT or angiography should be obtained in the stable patient with suspected blunt urological injury.
- Acute urological trauma
- Focused abdominal sonography for trauma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine