Delayed Presentations of Blunt Mesenteric and Intestinal Trauma in the Wake of Injury

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To analyze the presentation and timing of blunt mesenteric and intestinal trauma requiring surgical intervention.


The Hadassah-Hebrew University trauma registry was scanned for patients who required surgery following blunt mesenteric and/or bowel trauma. Demographic data, mechanism of injury, time to diagnosis and pathology reports were recorded. A literature search was also performed.


The majority of patients were injured in motor vehicle accidents (26/30, 86.7%). Patients were divided into three groups. Seventeen patients diagnosed within 4 h of admission were defined as the immediate group. Indication for surgery was hemodynamic instability and/or peritonitis. The most commonly injured region was the terminal ileum (10/17 patients, 59%). The second group (n = 4) had surgery within 2 weeks of injury (early group). These patients presented initially with hemodynamic instability. The operative findings were consistent with a low-flow state of the terminal ileum and cecum. The third group (n = 9) consisted of patients who were operated later than 2 weeks from the date of injury (late group). These patients presented with prolonged abdominal symptoms, chiefly partial small bowel obstruction. Operative findings were bowel strictures, most commonly of the terminal ileum (7/9 patients, 77.8%).


Acceleration-deceleration abdominal injury affects the terminal ileum more commonly. We propose that the ensuing clinical picture depends on the level of energy transmitted: high-energy trauma leads to extensive mesenteric and bowel tears and is diagnosed immediately. Low-energy trauma may lead to chronic ischemia, fibrosis and stricture-formation. The right colon appears to be more vulnerable to lowflow states following blunt trauma.

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