Blunt polytrauma remains a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. With the major advances in computed tomography (CT) technology over the past decade, whole-body CT is increasingly recognized as the emerging standard for providing rapid and accurate diagnoses within the narrow therapeutic window afforded to trauma victims with multiple severe injuries. With a single continuous acquisition, whole-body CT angiography is able to demonstrate all potentially injured organs, as well as vascular and bone structures, from the circle of Willis to the symphysis pubis. As its use becomes more widespread, the large volume of information inherent to whole-body CT poses new challenges to radiologists in providing efficient and timely interpretation. An awareness of trauma scoring systems and injury mechanisms is essential to maintain an appropriate level of suspicion in the search for multiple injuries, and the use of multiplanar reformation and three-dimensional postprocessing techniques is important to maximize efficiency in the search. Knowledge of the key injuries that require urgent surgical or percutaneous intervention, including major vascular injuries and active hemorrhage, diaphragmatic rupture, unstable spinal fractures, pancreatic injuries with ductal involvement, and injuries to the mesentery and hollow viscera, is also necessary.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging