Abdominal injuries | Medical Council of Canada
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Abdominal injuries

Version: March 2022
Legacy ID: 109-1


Abdominal injuries are common and may be life-threatening. Assessment of patients with an abdominal injury may be difficult because it may produce few clinical signs. Interpretation of abdominal physical examination findings may also be difficult in unconscious patients with multiple injuries.

Causal Conditions

(list not exhaustive)

  1. Blunt trauma (e.g., blast injuries, deceleration injuries)
  2. Penetrating trauma (e.g., stabbing, shooting)

Key Objectives

Given a patient with an abdominal injury, the candidate will diagnose the cause, severity, and complications, and will initiate an appropriate management plan.

Enabling Objectives

Given a patient with an abdominal injury, the candidate will

  1. list and interpret critical clinical findings, including
    1. the mechanism of injury;
    2. the symptoms and signs of injury; and
    3. the identification of an abdominal injury that commonly occurs in association with other serious injuries;
  2. construct an effective initial management plan, including
    1. initiating resuscitation and assessing the patient’s response to resuscitation; and
    2. determining whether the patient requires specialized care; and
  3. list and interpret critical investigations, including
    1. appropriate laboratory investigations (e.g., urinalysis, serial complete blood count); and
    2. appropriate diagnostic testing (e.g., imaging, peritoneal lavage).