The Challenge of Blunt Abdominal Trauma in Children: Report of a Case and Review of Management

Ana Maria Minaya-Bravo, Hector Aguado-Lopez


Blunt abdominal trauma is the most frequent cause of abdominal injuries in children. The term solid organ injury (SOI) is referred to liver, spleen and kidney. Splenic injuries are the most common. The management of SOI has been motive of discussion for years and has undergone a radical shift in the last decades. Currently, non-operative management is the gold standard of care when circumstances are favorable. In 1977, non-operative management was supported by surgeons in Toronto. Later, the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) pointed that management should be based on imaging findings and CT grading of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. However, this caused long stays and unnecessary follow-up imaging. Soon, APSA guidelines were questioned and raised controversy. Finally, hemodynamic status was defined as the main key for taking decisions and ATOMAC guidelines gained support. However, facing a blunt trauma in children is always a challenge. Hemodynamic stability is not easy to define and heart rate and blood pulse are poor markers for stability. This complicates the management of blunt trauma in children. As consequence, it is important that these children are treated in pediatric centers. We report a case of a 15-year-old male who suffered from a blunt abdominal trauma with splenic and renal injuries treated by adult surgeons when playing football. We review the current recommendations for blunt abdominal trauma in children and the differences with adult management.

J Med Cases. 2017;8(11):340-346


Pediatric trauma; Splenic injury; Renal injury; Abdominal trauma; Blunt trauma

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