Diagnosing blunt hollow viscus injury: Is computed tomography the answer?

Dandrea K. Joseph, Anastasia Kunac, Rae Lynne Kinler, Ilene Staff, Karyn L. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Blunt hollow viscus injury (BHVI) is challenging to diagnose. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of physical exam and the role of computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis of BHVI. Methods: All blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) admissions to a level 1 trauma center from January 2009 through December 2011 were identified through the trauma registry. Data collected included demographics and findings on CT and physical exam. Results: Of 2,912 patients with blunt trauma, 340 had BAT, and 30 (9%) had BHVIs. The sensitivity and specificity of CT were 86% and 88%, respectively, whereas the sensitivity and specificity of clinical exam were 53% and 69%. Twenty-seven percent of patients with BAT and bladder injuries had concomitant BHVIs. Conclusions: This is the largest single series of BHVI after BAT. CT is superior to clinical exam in establishing the diagnosis of BHVI. Although associated injuries are common, bladder injury may be an important marker for BHVI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-418
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


  • Blunt abdominal trauma
  • Blunt hollow viscus injury
  • CT scan
  • Hollow viscus injury
  • Trauma


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