The incidence of abdominal injury in patients with thoracic and/or pelvic trauma

Jamie G. Cooper*, Rik Smith, Angus J. Cooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Clinically and intuitively, it is believed that the incidence of abdominal injuries is high when there is a combination of both thoracic and pelvic trauma. The aim of this study was to establish the true incidence of intra-abdominal injury in these patients. Methods: A retrospective analysis of the Scottish Trauma Audit Group (STAG) database for the 5-year period from 1997 to 2001 inclusive. Significant chest, abdominal and pelvic injuries were all defined as AIS ≥ 2. The incidence of abdominal trauma was calculated for different combinations of severity of chest and/or pelvic trauma. Results: 507/3644 (14%) patients with significant chest trauma but no pelvic trauma had concomitant abdominal injuries, compared to 111/1397 (8%) patients with pelvic trauma but no chest trauma. The likelihood of concomitant abdominal injury increased significantly if both chest and pelvis injuries were present (239/507, 47%; p < 0.001). Amongst patients with combined chest and pelvic trauma, the incidence of abdominal injury increased with severity of pelvic and chest injury (pelvis and chest both AIS = 2: 5/45, 11%; either pelvis or chest AIS = 3+: 81/198, 41%; both pelvis and chest AIS = 3+: 153/264, 58%; p < 0.001). For patients with chest but no pelvic trauma, intra-abdominal injury was significantly more common amongst penetrating than blunt trauma (143/674, 21% versus 364/2970, 12%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: As expected, patients with serious chest and pelvic trauma have a much higher incidence of significant abdominal injury than patients with chest or pelvic trauma in isolation. Where laparotomy is not immediately indicated, imaging should be considered mandatory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInjury Extra
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005


  • Abbreviated injury scale
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Injury patterns


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