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Penetrating injuries account for a large percentage of visits to emergency departments and trauma centers worldwide. Emergency laparotomy is the accepted standard of care in patients with a penetrating torso injury who are not hemodynamically stable and have a clinical indication for exploratory laparotomy, such as evisceration or gastrointestinal bleeding. Continuous advances in technology have made computed tomography (CT) an indispensable tool in the evaluation of many patients who are hemodynamically stable, have no clinical indication for exploratory laparotomy, and are candidates for conservative treatment. Multidetector CT may depict the trajectory of a penetrating injury and help determine what type of intervention is necessary on the basis of findings such as active arterial extravasation and major vascular, hollow viscus, or diaphragmatic injuries. Because multidetector CT plays an increasing role in the evaluation of patients with penetrating wounds to the torso, the radiologists who interpret these studies should be familiar with the CT findings that mandate intervention.


J Diego Lozano, Felipe Munera, Stephan W Anderson, Jorge A Soto, Christine O Menias, Kim M Caban. Penetrating wounds to the torso: evaluation with triple-contrast multidetector CT. Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. 2013 Mar-Apr;33(2):341-59

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PMID: 23479700

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