The evolution of abdominal stab wound management

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

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101 Scopus citations


The results of the selective management of 300 abdominal stab wound victims have been reviewed for a 5-year period. Initially the need for laparotomy was evaluated by sinography, later physical examination, and most recently by local wound exploration combined with peritoneal lavage. The use of sinography resulted in an unnecessary laparotomy rate of 38%. Exploration based upon physical findings eventuated in 36% unnecessary laparotomies, of which 79% were negative, 17% morbidity, and no mortality. Local wound exploration followed by peritoneal lavage when peritoneal violation was suspected resulted in 8% unnecessary laparotomies of which half were negative, 9% morbidity, and no mortality. Based on this experience we have adopted the following approach to abdominal stab wounds. Patients with unexplained blood loss or overt signs of visceral injury undergo prompt exploration. In all other cases, peritoneal integrity is determined by local wound exploration. Patients with intact peritoneum are discharged from the Emergency Department. If peritoneal violation is evident peritoneal lavage is performed. If the lavage is positive laparotomy is undertaken, and if negative the patient is hospitalized for an additional 24 hours of observation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-484
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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