Nast-Kolb D. Trupka A. Ruchholtz S. Schweiberer L.
Chirurgische Klinik und Poliklinik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen.
While a great part of the Anglo-American medical literature addresses the topic of penetrating trauma the German speaking countries rather publish on blunt abdominal injury. The presented paper discusses the strategic principles of acute clinical management of abdominal trauma on the combined basis of own research results and a comprehensive review of the literature. Blunt abdominal injuries in most cases from a part in the pattern of multiple trauma. The early, first-hours mortality is most often caused by severe traumatic brain injury or abdominal trauma with massive hemorrhage. The prehospital management of penetrating injuries is characterized rather by the concept of 'load and go', whereas the onscene stabilization of the patient with blunt abdominal injury should precede transport to the adequate hospital. On arrival in the accident and emergency room an immediate blood transfusion is recommended for hemodynamically unstable patients. If then a stabilization is not achieved, an emergency laparotomy should follow. Abdominal stab injuries should be explored by laparoscopy if an intraperitoneal lesion is suspected. If then the possibility of an intestinal lesion is present a laparotomy should be performed directly thereafter. Firearm injuries require open revision in almost all cases. The standard diagnostic technique in blunt abdominal trauma is sonography, assisted by computed tomography and, if indicated, angiography in hemodynamically stable patients. Isolated abdominal injuries without hemodynamic or coagulation disorders allow conservative treatment in the intensive care setting. In severe multiple trauma as well as in manifest shock even the smallest fluid detection should lead to laparotomy. The surgical treatment of splenic rupture is still a matter of discussion. Splenectomy is indicated in patients with severe concomitating injuries or shock whereas in the remainder of cases the total or partial preservation of the spleen should be pursued. Hepatic injuries offer a broad spectrum of operative interventions, ranging from superficial hemostatic measures over compression techniques like 'packing' and 'mesh-wrapping' to atypical and anatomical resections and to liver transplantation in exceptional cases. Lesions of tubular organs and the pancreas pose especially difficult diagnostical problems but regularly allow a rather easy operative treatment.