Readmission With Major Abdominal Complications After Penetrating Abdominal Trauma

Kamil Hanna, Samer Asmar, Michael Ditillo, Mohamad Chehab, Muhammad Khurrum, Letitia Bible, Molly Douglas, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Despite improvements in operative techniques, major abdominal complications (MACs) continue to occur after penetrating abdominal trauma (PAT). This study aimed to evaluate the burden of MAC after PAT. Methods: The (2012-2015) National Readmission Database was queried for all adult (age ≥18 y) trauma patients with penetrating injuries who underwent exploratory laparotomy and were readmitted within 6 mo of index hospitalization discharge. Patients were stratified by firearm injuries (FIs) and stab injuries (SIs). Primary outcomes were rates of MAC: intra-abdominal abscesses (IAAs), superficial surgical site infection (SSI), and fascial dehiscence within 6 mo after discharge. Secondary outcomes were both nonabdominal complications and mortality, postdischarge, and 6-mo readmission. Regression analysis was performed. Results: A total of 4473 patients (FI, 2326; SI, 2147) were included in the study; the mean age was 32 ± 14 y, the Injury Severity Score was 19 (15-25), and 23% underwent damage control laparotomy (DCL). The rate of MAC within 6 mo was 22% (IAA 19%, SSI 7%, and fascial dehiscence 4%). Patients with FIs had a higher rate of IAA (27% versus 10%; P < 0.01), SSI (11% versus 3%; P < 0.01), fascial dehiscence (5% versus 3%; P = 0.03), nonabdominal complications (54% versus 24%; P < 0.01), and postdischarge mortality (8% versus 6%; P < 0.01) compared with patients with SIs. On regression analysis, DCL (P < 0.01), large bowel perforation (P < 0.01), biliary-pancreatic injury (P < 0.01), hepatic injury (P < 0.01), and blood transfusion (P = 0.02) were predictors of MAC. Conclusions: MAC developed in one in five patients after PAT. FIs have a higher potential for hollow viscus injury and peritoneal contamination, and are more predictive of MAC and nonabdominal complications, especially after DCL. Level of Evidence: Level III Prognostic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Damage control laparotomy
  • Major abdominal complications
  • Penetrating abdominal trauma
  • Readmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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