Injury to the stomach is called abdominal injury or abdominal trauma. It can be classified as either blunt or penetrating injury. An injury to the stomach causes significant damage to the abdominal organs. Penetrating trauma is associated with stab or gunshot wounds. Clinical signs of blunt abdominal trauma are very subtle and can sometimes be missed.
Abdominal Trauma Causes
- Blunt Trauma
- Motor vehicle collision: Vehicle collisions are a very common cause of blunt abdominal trauma. Seat belts provide a good protection for head and chest areas of the body, but due to the seat belt, the abdominal area comprising of the pancreas and the intestines can be displaced or compressed against the spinal column.
- Bicycle falls and mishaps: These are a common cause of injury to the stomach in children due to the handle bars.
- Sports injuries: Injuries in during sporting events can occur to spleen and kidneys.
- Penetrating Trauma
- Gunshot wounds and stab wounds are the common cause of penetrating trauma. High frequency gunshot wounds cause more damage than stab wounds. Gunshots penetrate the peritoneum and causes damage to intra-abdominal structures.
Symptoms Of Abdominal Trauma
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Associated loss of consciousness
- Injury to spleen radiates to left shoulder
- Small intestinal tear causes gradually increasing pain
- Blood in the urine due to kidney and bladder injuries
- Loss of a large amount of blood causing rapid heart rate, quick breathing, cold, pale or bluish clammy skin, altered alertness levels and sweating
- Swelling of abdomen due to excess blood
Abdominal Trauma Diagnosis
Severe Trauma: Individuals with evident severe trauma to the stomach are directly taken to the operating theatre by the doctor, since injury is externally evident
Ultrasonography and Computed Tomography: These are done at the bedside of the patient to identify bleeding profusion. It can also help detect injuries to spine, pelvis and associated fractures.
X-ray: X-ray helps in determining the penetrating path of the object in a penetrating trauma and any foreign body existing in the wound in the case of blunt trauma.
Diagnostic peritoneal lavage: This is a technique where a catheter is placed in the peritoneal cavity and emptied of any fluid present and then examined for blood and foreign material.