Background: Selective management of stable patients with anterior abdomen stab wounds (AASWs) has become a gold standard management approach throughout the world. Evidenced-based options for supporting selective management include clinical follow-up, local wound exploration with or without diagnostic peritoneal lavage, diagnostic laparoscopy, and abdominal computerized tomography. The presence of multiple AASWs might signify a more aggressive attack and limit the safety of a selective management approach.
Objectives: To evaluate whether multiple AASWs are associated with an increased risk of intra-abdominal injury requiring emergency surgery.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all AASW patients admitted to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin, Israel, and Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, Israel, from 2007 to 2015. Patients were divided into two groups based on the number of stab wounds: single or multiple. Data were coded for demographics, severity of injury, presence of intra-abdominal injury, laparotomy rate, length of hospital stay (LOS), length of stay in the intensive care unit (LICU), and survival.
Results: The study included 169 patients. Of these, 143 patients had a single AASW and 26 had multiple AASWs. There were no differences between the groups regarding demographics, severity of injury, intra-abdominal penetration, specific organ injury, LOS, or LICU. There was no difference in the percentage of patients requiring laparotomy. The overall mortality was 2.36% (4/169). There was no significant difference in the mortality rate between the groups (P = 0.11).
Conclusions: The presence of multiple AASWs is not a risk factor for increased frequency and severity of intra-abdominal injury.