Bowel and mesenteric injuries are rare in patients following blunt abdominal trauma. Computed tomography (CT) imaging has become a mainstay in the work-up of the stable trauma patient. The purpose of this study was to identify radiographic predictors of therapeutic operative intervention for mesenteric and/or bowel injuries in patients after blunt abdominal trauma.
All patients with a discharge diagnosis of bowel and/or mesenteric injury after blunt trauma were identified over a 5-year period. Admission CT scans were reviewed to identify potential predictors of bowel and/or mesenteric injury. Patients were then stratified by operative intervention [therapeutic laparotomy (TL) vs. non-therapeutic laparotomy (NTL)] and compared. All potential predictors included in the initial regression model were assigned one point and a score based on the number of predictors was calculated: the radiographic predictors of therapeutic operative intervention (RAPTOR) score.
151 patients were identified. 114 (76%) patients underwent operative intervention. Of these, 75 patients (66%) underwent TL. Multifocal hematoma, acute arterial extravasation, bowel wall hematoma, bowel devascularization, fecalization, pneumoperitoneum and fat pad injury, identified as potential predictors on univariable analysis, were included in the initial regression model and comprised the RAPTOR score. The optimal RAPTOR score was identified as ≥ 3, with a sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of 67%, 85% and 86%, respectively. Acute arterial extravasation (OR 3.8; 95% CI 1.2–4.3), bowel devascularization (OR 14.5; 95% CI 11.8–18.4) and fat pad injury (OR 4.5 95% CI 1.6–6.2) were identified as independent predictors of TL (AUC 0.91).
CT imaging remains vital in assessing for potential bowel and/or mesenteric injuries following blunt abdominal trauma. The RAPTOR score provides a simplified approach to predict the need for early therapeutic operative intervention.