Multi-slice computed tomography for diagnosis of combined thoracoabdominal injury

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Purpose To investigate the diagnostic value of multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) for combined thoracoabdominal injury. Methods A retrospective study was conducted to analyze the clinical data and MSCT images of 68 patients who sustained a combined thoracoabdominal injury associated with diaphragm rupture, and 18 patients without diaphragm rupture. All the patients were admitted and treated in the Chongqing Emergency Medical Center (a level I trauma center) between July 2005 and February 2014. There were 71 males and 15 females with a mean age of 39.1 years (range 13-88 years). Among the 86 patients, 40 patients suffered a penetrating injury, 46 suffered a blunt injury as a result of road traffic accident in 21 cases, fall from a height in 16, and crushing injury in 9. The MSCT images were retrospectively reviewed by two radiologists. The results of CT diagnosis were compared with surgical findings and/or follow-up results. Results Among the 86 cases, diaphragm discontinuity was found in 29 cases, segmental nonrecognition of the diaphragm in 14, diaphragmatic hernia in 21, collar sign in 14, dependent viscera sign in 18, elevated abdominal organs in 21, bowel wall thickening and/or hematoma in 6, and pneumoperitoneum in 8. CT diagnostic accuracy for diaphragm rupture was 88.4% in the right side and 90.7% in the left side. CT diagnostic accuracy for hemopneumothorax, pulmonary contusion, mediastinal hemorrhage, kidney and adrenal gland injuries was 100%, while for liver, spleen and pancreas injuries was 96.5%, 96.5%, 94.2% respectively. Conclusion To reach an early diagnosis of combined thoracoabdominal injury, surgeons and radiologists should be familiar with all kinds of images which might show signs of diaphragm rupture, such as diaphragm discontinuity, segmental nonrecognition of the diaphragm, dangling diaphragm sign, diaphragm herniation, collar sign, dependent viscera sign, and elevated abdominal organs.




Liu, J., Yue, W., & Du, D. (2015). Multi-slice computed tomography for diagnosis of combined thoracoabdominal injury. Chinese Journal of Traumatology - English Edition, 18(1), 27–32.

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