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Abdominal and pelvic trauma in children

Gaines, Barbara A. MD; Ford, Henri R. MD

Scientific Reviews

Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in children. More than 90% of pediatric trauma admissions are the result of a blunt mechanism. Although injury to the abdomen and pelvis account for only 10% of injuries sustained by victims of pediatric trauma, they can be potentially life threatening. Optimal evaluation of the injured child may require the use of multiple diagnostic modalities. The spleen is the most frequently injured intra-abdominal organ, followed by the liver, intestine, and pancreas. Fortunately, the majority of injuries to the spleen and liver can be treated nonoperatively. Conversely, injuries involving the intestine and pancreas often require operative intervention.

From the Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Address requests for reprints to: Barbara A. Gaines, MD, Division of Pediatric Surgery, 3705 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Because of their body habitus and relatively immature musculoskeletal system, children are at increased risk of sustaining injuries to intra-abdominal organs after blunt abdominal trauma.

© 2002 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins