Pediatric blunt abdominal trauma: current management

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Purpose of review

Nonoperative management of pediatric blunt abdominal injury has changed significantly in the last few years.

Recent findings

Improved resource utilization in the diagnosis of pediatric abdominal injury has been described. Hemodynamic status, rather than grade of injury, now guides care. Stable patients spend less time in the hospital, return to school upon discharge, and are allowed lower hemoglobin levels prior to transfusion. ICUs are reserved for those with recent or ongoing bleeding, previously unstable patients, or children with concomitant injuries necessitating ICU. Risk factors for failure and evidence for adjuncts to nonoperative management are emerging. Operative management of certain pancreatic injuries may have more favorable outcomes than nonoperative management.


Sufficient evidence has become available to radically change the management of pediatric abdominal injury, which is being incorporated into new evidence-based management algorithms.

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