TREATING ABDOMINAL INJURIES
Section I. GENERAL
The abdomen is a large body cavity that extends from the diaphragm to the pelvis.
It contains several organs that are part of the digestive system, the urinary system, and
the genital system. The liver, stomach, spleen, and intestines are some of the organs
located in the abdominal cavity. Several large arteries and veins are also located in the
INJURIES TO THE ABDOMEN
Abdominal injuries may be closed (no skin broken) or open (skin broken and
abdominal wall penetrated). Injuries to the genitalia may also be present. Injuries to the
genitalia are not life-threatening, but are usually very painful. Treatment for these injuries
will be conducted during the tactical field care phase of care.
a. Open Abdominal Wounds. Open abdominal wounds are caused by an object
penetrating the skin and abdominal wall. The penetration may be caused by a bullet or a
knife, by an object blown from an explosion, or by falling on a sharp object. Organs
and/or blood vessels located in the abdominal cavity may be punctured. The wound may
expose organs. Sometimes organs, such as part of an intestine, may protrude through
b. Closed Abdominal Injuries. Closed abdominal injuries are caused by a blow
to the abdomen. Although the skin is not broken, organs and/or blood vessels located in
the abdominal cavity may be lacerated or ruptured.
Section II. TREATING OPEN ABDOMINAL WOUNDS
LOCATE OPEN ABDOMINAL WOUND(S)
Examine the casualty's abdominal region for both entry and exit wounds. If more
than one open abdominal wound is found, treat the most serious wound (largest or
POSITION A CASUALTY WITH AN OPEN ABDOMINAL WOUND
After finding an open abdominal wound, position the casualty on his back with his
knees raised in a flexed position (figure 4-1). This position helps to lessen pain, control
shock, relieve pressure on the abdominal area by allowing the abdominal muscles to
relax, and lessen exposure of abdominal organs.