Diagnostic peritoneal lavage in the management of blunt abdominal trauma: A reassessment

Gerardo A. Gomez, Rafael Alvarez, Gustavo Plasencia, Miguel Echenique, James J. Vopal, Patricia Byers, Ennis B. Dove, David J. Kreis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


In order to reassess the value of diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL) in patients with blunt abdominal trauma, we conducted a prospective study over a 15-month period involving 138 patients. There were 29 (28.3%) patients with positive DPL and 103 (71.7%) with negative DPL in this series. Of the 29 patients with positive DPL, 28 (96.5%) were found to have significant intra abdominal injuries; 27 by exploratory laparotomy and in one case at autopsy. One patient with a grossly positive DPL had a negative exploratory laparatomy (3.4% false positive rate). All 109 patients with negative DPL were admitted. In only one case a significant intra-abdominal injury was demonstrated (0.9% false negative rate). The overall mortality in this series was 11.6% and there were no complications related to the DPL. Our results suggest that DPL is indeed an accurate indicator of significant intra-abdominal injuries in patients with blunt abdominal trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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