Mandatory laparotomy for gunshot wounds penetrating the abdomen

Ernest E. Moore, John B. Moore, Sarah Van Duzer-Moore, Jon S. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


A 4 year experience with 245 patients with isolated lower thoracic or anterior abdominal gunshot wounds was reviewed. Twenty-three (16 percent) of the 144 abdominal injuries were clinically superficial and all were managed successfully nonoperatively. Of the remaining 121 patients, 115 were confirmed to have peritoneal violation at laparotomy and 111 (96 percent) of these had significant visceral injuries. Of the 101 patients with lower chest wounds, 47 had peritoneal violation and 45 (96 percent) had intrabdominal injuries. Twenty-six (17 percent) of the 156 patients with intraperitoneal trauma had unimpressive physical signs on admission. These findings support a policy of routine exploration for gunshot wounds violating the peritoneum. When depth of penetration is uncertain, diagnostic peritoneal lavage should be used. Only those patients with unequivocally superficial injuries warrant observation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-851
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Mandatory laparotomy for gunshot wounds penetrating the abdomen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this