Penetrating stab wounds to the abdomen: Use of serial US and contrast-enhanced CT in stable patients

J. A. Soto, C. Morales, F. Múnera, A. Sanabria, J. M. Guevara, T. Suárez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To evaluate the usefulness of computed tomography (CT) and ultrasonography (US) for the initial assessment of penetrating abdominal stab wounds in patients who presented to the emergency department without indication for immediate laparotomy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: During 36 months, 32 patients with a penetrating stab wound to the abdomen were examined with serial US (at admission and 12 hours later) and helical CT, with contrast material administered orally, intravenously, and rectally. Presence of hemoperitoneum and integrity of solid and hollow viscera were evaluated with both methods. Sonograms were interpreted by the radiologist who performed the examination, and CT images were independently evaluated by two radiologists. Findings of both techniques were compared with clinical outcome and/or surgical findings. RESULTS: One (3.1%) of 32 patients required surgery: Surgical findings were massive hemoperitoneum and an extensive hepatic laceration. Both US and CT depicted these abnormalities. Thirty-one (96.9%) patients were treated conservatively, without surgery, and remained asymptomatic during 28 days of clinical follow-up after discharge from the hospital. US and/or CT showed intraperitoneal abnormalities in 21 of these patients. In 11 patients, both methods showed no evidence of visceral injury or hemoperitoneum, and none of these patients required surgery. CONCLUSION: Serial US and CT help guide treatment for stable patients with penetrating stab injuries to the abdomen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdomen
  • CT
  • Injuries
  • Trauma
  • US

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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