Effects of other intra-abdominal injuries on the diagnosis, management, and outcome of small bowel trauma

D. J. Hackam, J. Ali, S. S. Jastaniah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Difficulty with and delays in diagnosis are possible causes of increased morbidity and mortality in small bowel injuries. We assessed whether multiple intra-abdominal injuries led to earlier laparotomy and whether this resulted in improved outcome. Methods: Patients with small bowel injuries between January 1993 and December 1997 from the trauma database at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto were assessed after dividing them into those with isolated small bowel injury ('isolated') and those with small bowel injuries in association with other intra-abdominal injuries ('nonisolated'). Parameters compared were age, gender, length of stay, mortality, intra-abdominal complications, mechanism of injury, diagnostic time, and how the diagnosis was made. Results: Of 1,207 patients, 244 sustained abdominal injuries, and 83 had small bowel injuries (30 patients in the isolated group and 53 in the nonisolated group). Groups were similar with respect to age and gender, yet differed significantly with respect to mechanism and mean Injury Severity Scores (isolated, 18 ± 8 vs. nonisolated, 30 ± 15). Outcome differed between groups, as mortality (isolated, 0 of 30 vs. nonisolated, 4 of 53 deaths), length of stay (isolated, 13 ± 2 vs nonisolated, 22 ± 3 days), and patients with intra-abdominal complications (isolated, 5 of 30 vs. nonisolated, 14 of 53 patients) were significantly higher in the nonisolated group. Time to diagnosis was significantly less in the nonisolated group. Decision for laparotomy and diagnosis of small bowel injuries were based more on physical findings in the nonisolated group and on computed tomography in the isolated group. Conclusion: The presence of associated intra-abdominal injuries significantly affects presentation and outcome of patients with small bowel injuries and the selection of diagnostic modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-610
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Outcome measures
  • Small bowel injuries
  • Small intestine
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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