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Tony Suharsono

tony/en-b 2007

13 -15 of traumatic death are a direct result of injury

to abdominal structure, making this the third leading

cause of trauma related mortality (trauma nursing
core course)
In UK the incidence of life threatening abdominal and
genitourinary trauma is low, just over 1% of all trauma
admissions to hospital
Injury to the abdomen can be a difficult condition to
evaluate even in the hospital . In the field it is usually
more so
tony/en-b 2007

Anatomy of abdomen
Abdomen is traditionally divided into three region :
- The thoracic abdomen
- The true abdomen
- The retroperitoneal abdomen

tony/en-b 2007

Thoracic abdomen
Located underneath the thin

sheet muscle, the diaphragm,

and is enclosing by the lower
It contains the liver, gall
bladder, spleen, stomach and
transverse colon.
Injury to the liver and spleen
can result in life-threatening
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True Abdomen
It contains intestines and the

Damage to the intestines can
result in infection, peritonitis
and shock

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The retroperitoneal Abdomen

It lies behind the thoracic and

true portion of the abdomen

This area include kidneys,
ureters, pancreas, posterior
duodenum, ascending and
descending colon , abdominal
aorta, the inferior vena cava
Injuries here difficult to

tony/en-b 2007

Types of injuries
Blunt trauma, (have relative high rate mortality

rates of 10-30%, fracture solid organ, blow out of

hollow organ and tearing of organ and their blood
vessel )
Penetrating trauma (Stab wound and gunshot
wound, gunshot caused greater incidence of injury
to abdominal viscera from the higher energy
imparted to the intra abdominal organ
in the prehospital phase , with both blunt and
penetrating trauma , you must be concerned about
intra abdominal bleeding with hemorrhagic shock
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General considerations
although penetrating injuries may be restricted to the
abdomen, blunt abdominal trauma is rarely in isolated

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Assessment abdominal trauma

Primary survey : rapid visual evaluation and palpation
Gentle palpate iliac crest (tenderness and crepitus

associated with fracture)

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Sign and symptoms patient with

abdominal injuries
Contusions, abrasion, laceration, punctures, or other

signs of blunt or penetrating injuries

Pain that may initially be mild, than worsening
Tenderness on palpation to areas other than the site of
Rigid abdominal muscle
Patient lies with his legs drawn up to the chest in an
attempt to reduce pain
Distended abdomen
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Sign and symptoms patient

with abdominal injuries
Discoloration around the umbilical or to the flank
Rapid shallow breathing
Signs of shock
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal cramping may be present
Pain may radiate to either shoulder

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Management abdominal trauma

Immediate determination of specific structure that

have been injured is not essential : the most important

management decision is whether the patient requires
immediate surgery. With this mind, care is focused on
basic stabilization, frequent reassessment, and
diagnostic testing.
Ensure the patient has a patent airway
Clear the airway and use adjuncts as indicated
tony/en-b 2007

Management abdominal trauma


Evaluate the respiratory rate, depth, effectiveness, and work of

breath. Consider the possibility of concurrent thoracic injury


Administer supplemental oxygen via a non rebreather mask or

tracheal tube
Assisst ventilations as needed with a bag valve mask or
mechanical ventilation

tony/en-b 2007

Management abdominal trauma


Assess circulatory status: pulses, skin status, and blood pressure.

Patient with abdominal injuries can lose tremendous amounts of


Insert two (or more) large bore (14-16 G) intravenous catheter

Infuse warmed, isotonic crystalloid solution
Transfuse blood component as needed
Administer fluid based on clinical status and test result (a Judicial
approach to volume replacement is recommended)
Consider central line placement in unstable patient for infusion of
large fluid volume and central venous pressure monitoring
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Management abdominal trauma


Identify the mechanism of injury and prehospital event

Determine medical history
Inspect the anterior and posterior abdomen to identify all wounds
Check for major injuries to other body sites


Place an orogastric or nasogastric tube for stomac decompression

Insert inwelling urinary catheter and monitor output
Cover open abdominal wound with sterile saline dressing, do not
allow exposed to dry
Facilitate diagnostic studies and surgical intervention
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tony/en-b 2007

Scene size up for mechanism and pertinent history

from the patient

Rapid patient assessment
Rapid transport to appropriate hospital
Other intervention as needed

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Suggested reading
Brady Basic trauma life support
Emergency care, textbook for paramedic, second

Sheehys Manual of emergency care
Prehospital emergency care

tony/en-b 2007

tony/en-b 2007