Pediatric Abdominal Trauma Imaging

Carlos J. Sivit, MD


Appl Radiol. 2013;42(5):8-13. 

In This Article


Sonography has largely replaced peritoneal lavage in the assessment of unstable patients following blunt abdominal trauma since it can be rapidly performed at the bedside. Sonography has been primarily utilized to detect free fluid indicative of hemoperitoneum. However, hemoperitoneum in the hemodynamically stable child typically has limited impact on management decisions. Sonography has important limitations in the evaluation of the abdomen in injured children. First, it does not provide any diagnostic information regarding injury to the bony pelvis or lumbar spine. Additionally, sonography cannot be used in the diagnosis of hollow viscus injury. Finally, sonography has been shown to miss approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of solid viscus injuries.[34–35] Therefore, sonography has a limited role in assessing hemodynamically stable children following blunt abdominal trauma.