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Pneumoperitoneum without visceral trauma: an under-recognised phenomenon after blast injury?
  1. Doug M Bowley1,2,
  2. S Gillingham1,
  3. S Mercer1,2,
  4. J J Schrager2 and
  5. A West1
  1. 1Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Joint Force Hospital, Bastion Hospital, Operation Herrick, Afghanistan
  1. Correspondence to Lt Col D.M. Bowley, Academic Department of Military Surgery & Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham Research Park, 97 Vincent Drive, Birmingham B15 2SQ, UK; doug.bowley{at}heartofengland.nhs.uk

Abstract

Objectives The management of patients who have sustained blast injuries poses an important challenge for military healthcare professionals. Current military operations are generating large numbers of casualties and modern military healthcare facilities are increasingly using CT scanning to facilitate their management. This small case series serves to draw attention to a rare (or possibly under-reported) phenomenon after blast injury.

Methods and results We report two patients exposed to blast who had pneumoperitoneum identified by CT scan but who did not have abdominal visceral injury or ballistic peritoneal violation.

Discussion The use of cross-sectional imaging is leading to the recognition of otherwise occult injury. Military practitioners should be aware of this injury pattern when using CT to help select patients for conservative management after abdominal blast injury.

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  • Received March 14, 2013.
  • Accepted March 15, 2013.
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