Laparoscopy in 121 consecutive patients with abdominal gunshot wounds

J. L. Sosa, A. Arrillaga, I. Puente, D. Sleeman, E. Ginzburg, L. Martin, M. A. Croce, R. C. Lim, P. Angood, R. R. Ivatury, G. O. Strauch

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71 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value of diagnostic laparoscopy (DL) in a large group of stable patients with abdominal gunshot wounds (ABGSWs). Design: This study was a prospective case series developed by management protocol. Materials and Methods: In a 2 1/2 -year period, DL was performed in 121 consecutive patients who were hemodynamically stable with ABGSWs and met protocol criteria. This represented 18% of all patients with ABGSWs seen in this period at the Ryder Trauma Center. The evaluation was conducted to determine peritoneal violation, the presence of intra-abdominal blood, and the need for exploration. Measurements and Main Results: There were 42 (35%) positive and 79 (65%) negative DLs. In patients with positive DL, 39 (92.8%) had exploratory laparotomy. In this group, 32 (82%) had therapeutic laparotomy, 6 (15.4%) had nontherapeutic laparotomy, and 1 (2.5%) had a negative laparotomy. In this patient, DL was felt to be inadequate by the attending surgeon, although no penetration or intraperitoneal blood were present, and a negative laparotomy was done. This represents a failure rate of 0.8%. There were 3 (7.2%) positive DLs, in whom laparotomy was not performed. These patients had isolated nonbleeding liver injuries, and nontherapeutic laparotomy was successfully avoided. The negative DL group was divided into 47 patients (60%) with isolated ABGSWs, and 32 patients (40%) with associated injuries, mostly orthopedic and thoracic. There were no false-negative DLs and no delayed laparotomies in these 121 patients. There was no mortality in this study group. The sensitivity for peritoneal penetration was 100%, and the specificity was 98.7%. The positive predictive value was 97.6%, and the negative predictive value was 100%. In deciding on need for laparotomy (i.e., injury requiring repair), DL had a positive predictive value of 82%; more importantly, the negative predictive value was 100%. Conclusions: In stable patients with ABGSWs and questionable intra- abdominal injury, DL can be safely used. It is highly sensitive and specific. It can effectively reduce the incidence of negative and nontherapeutic laparotomies, and the overall morbidity and hospital stay in this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-506
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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