Case Report

Upper abdominal visceral injury resulting from blunt trauma to the pelvis: a specific variant of shockwave injury?

Donald Jan Emby
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 15, No 4 | a360 | DOI: | © 2011 Donald Jan Emby | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2011 | Published: 07 December 2011

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Donald Jan Emby, Anglogold Ashanti, South Africa

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Two patients who sustained severe blunt injury to the pelvis without external injury to the upper abdomen or lower chest, yet who were found to have a ruptured solid upper abdominal viscus, are reported. The first patient on delayed arrival revealed clinical features suggestive of intra-abdominal bleeding and was found to have a grade 3 ruptured spleen. With the second patient, upper abdominal injury (in this instance, a pancreatic laceration) was not initially suspected owing to the absence of clinical evidence of injury to the abdomen. It is postulated that both the splenic and pancreatic injuries were the result of a shockwave propagated through the abdomen following the severe external impact to the pelvis.


Blunt injury; Ruptured viscus; Shock wave; X-ray; Sonar


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