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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: February 2010

3 - Trauma radiology

Summary

Rapid assessment, diagnosis and treatment are essential as aortic injury is an unstable condition. Most patients are initially imaged with plain film radiography followed by computed tomography (CT) or angiography depending on initial radiographic findings and the spectrum of other injuries. Numerous signs on the chest X-ray have been described in association with traumatic aortic injury. Chest X-rays may detect potentially life-threatening injuries that require treatment, and pelvic films may demonstrate fractures of the pelvis that indicate the need for early blood transfusion. The chest X-ray or CT for blunt trauma can be divided into systems for the purposes of ensuring that all areas are looked at. The spleen is the most commonly injured organ in the abdomen, either the result of blunt abdominal trauma or penetrating injury. Ultrasound can demonstrate splenic laceration, adjacent fluid or splenic haematoma, but the technique is often limited by pain and patient immobility.

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