• During a five-year period from July 1968 through June 1973, 277 abdominal gunshot wounds (GSWs) occurred, the overall fatality of which was 10%.
Abdominal exploration was done in all patients. No intra-abdominal injury was found in 40 patients (14%) and no death occurred in this group. There were 28 fatalities (12%) in 237 patients (86%) who had intra-abdominal injuries. Morbidity and mortality were related not only to the number of organs injured, but also to specific organs injured. The leading cause of early death was hypovolemia due to major vessel injuries. Septicemia was the most common cause of death if the patient survived the first 24 hours of hospitalization.
Penetrating abdominal stab wounds and gunshot wounds must be considered separately, and mandatory routine abdominal exploration for all penetrating gunshot wounds is advised. In stab wounds to the abdomen, conservative management may be preferable.
(Arch Surg 111:862-865, 1976)