Abdominal stab wound injury in children: Do we need a different approach?

Israel Trauma Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Penetrating stab wounds in children are relatively rare and no clear recommendations for the optimal evaluation have been devised. An acceptable traditional approach to the patient with an abdominal stab wound who does not require urgent surgery is selective nonoperative management and serial exams. The use of routine computed tomography remains an actively utilized investigation for these patients at many institutions. Purpose: We hypothesize that the approach to pediatric stab wound victims should be distinctly different than that of adult counterparts in order to minimize radiation exposure. Methods: A retrospective cohort study involving abdominal stab wounds among pediatric trauma patients (age < 14) compared with adults between the years 1997 and 2016 was conducted utilizing the Israeli National Trauma Registry. Results: A total of 92 children and 4444 adults were identified from the registry for inclusion. Among the children 20 (21.7%) patients had intraabdominal injury compared to 1730 (38.9%) among adult counterparts. Four children were hemodynamically unstable, two of them were referred directly to operating room and two others were treated without surgery. Among the remaining 88 children there was no observed mortality. Conclusions: The majority of pediatric stab wounds trauma victims have minor abdominal injuries. We do not recommend the routine utilization of abdominal CT scan in the evaluation of abdominal stab wounds. Observation with serial exams and minimization of radiation exposure from CT are warranted in this unique population. Type of study: Retrospective comparative study. Level of evidence: 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-782
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Nonoperative management
  • Pediatric
  • Penetrating abdominal trauma
  • Stab wounds


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