April 1972

Quantitative Peritoneal Lavage in Blunt Abdominal Trauma

Author Affiliations

Eloise, Mich
From the Department of Surgery, Section of General Surgery (Drs. Olsen and Hildreth), and the Department of Radiology (Dr. Redman), the University of Michigan at Wayne County General Hospital, Eloise, Mich. Dr. Redman is now at Mt. Zion Hospital, San Francisco, and Dr. Hildreth is now at the US Naval Hospital, St. Albins, Long Island, NY.

Arch Surg. 1972;104(4):536-543. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1972.04180040150026

Peritoneal lavage was studied prospectively in 232 patients with blunt abdominal trauma and proved to be a rapid, safe, prompt, and reliable indicator of the presence or absence of hemoperitoneum. Ninety-one percent of the significant abdominal injuries were identified at the time of initial emergency room evaluation. However, 30% of the patients with hemoperitoneum did not have significant injuries. A simple bedside method of measuring the amount of blood in the lavage fluid has allowed us to identify patients with minimal hemoperitoneum. By evaluating these patients more intensively, the remaining injuries are detected promptly, and patients with hemoperitoneum from trival injuries are spared unnecessary celiotomies. The diagnostic error was 4%, but no significant injuries were overlooked. Preoperative time, blood transfusions, and delays have been reduced, and admissions for "observation" have been eliminated.