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Minerva Pediatrica 2012 February;64(1):47-53

language: English, Italian

Traumatic duodenal lesions in children due to two-point seat-belt: the seat-belt syndrome

Guanà R., Sangiorgio L., Tessiatore P., Seymandi P.

Santi Antonio e Biagio and Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria, Italy


Two consecutive children, motor vehicle accident victims, were treated between December 2006 and January 2007. They reported duodenal perforations due to lap-belt action. In the first case (a 9-year-old boy), symptoms became immediately evident after the trauma. Early computerized tomography (CT) scan demonstrated biliaryhemoperitonitis and free sub-diaphragmatic air. At the laparotomy a complete duodenal transection, at the level of duodenal bulb, was found. In the second patient, early X-ray and CT scan revealed no free abdominal air; only the second CT scan, repeated after 48 hours, when general conditions of the girl become critical, demonstrated biliary peritonitis and aerial extraluminal gas image in the right peri-kidney space. At the surgical exploration a duodenal laceration was noted, at the passage between the second and the third duodenal portion, in the postero-lateral wall, with an extension of 6 cm. In both children direct suture of duodenal injury without stoma construction was performed. Not early or late postoperative complications were registered (follow-up: 18 months). In the traumatic duodenal lesions an early diagnosis is not always possible because of the paucity of the clinical signs. Tightened clinical and radiological monitoring of the patient is fundamental in the successive hours to the trauma. Early diagnosis and high level of suspicious rest crucial for better prognosis in this group of patients.

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