Exploratory coeliotomy is essential in the care of abdominal trauma, but negative operation has a reported morbidity rate as high as 18 per cent. Ancillary studies such as computerized tomography, diagnostic peritoneal lavage and abdominal ultrasound have improved both sensitivity and specificity of evaluation in blunt and penetrating trauma, thus decreasing the rate of negative coeliotomy. A retrospective study of 50 consecutive negative laparotomies (10.5 per cent of all trauma laparotomies) at our Trauma Center revealed a morbidity rate of 22 per cent and mortality of 6 per cent. Although the negative coeliotomy rate was lower for blunt than penetrating trauma, morbidity was significantly higher for blunt trauma. Extra-abdominal injury alone could not account for this difference. We conclude that negative coeliotomy in penetrating trauma does not carry excessive morbidity. Negative coeliotomy in blunt trauma is accompanied by high morbidity and mortality, so adjunct diagnostic procedures should be utilized in this population in an effort to minimize negative laparotomies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine