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In medical terminology, blunt trauma, blunt injury, non-penetrating trauma or blunt force trauma refers to a type of physical trauma caused to a body part, either by impact, injury or physical attack; the latter usually being referred to as blunt force trauma. The term itself is used to refer to the precursory trauma, from which there is further development of more specific types of trauma, such as concussions, abrasions, lacerations, and/or bone fracturing. Blunt trauma is contrasted with penetrating trauma, in which an object such as a bullet enters the body.
Although blunt trauma is a condition in itself, the main emphasis on the diagnosis of blunt trauma is to ascertain the cause of the accident, any further injury and its correlation with the medical, dietary, and physiological history of the patient gathered from various sources, such as family and friends, or previous physicians, in order to establish the most swift path to recovery. This method is given the mnemonic "S.A.M.P.L.E.";
- SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- PAST MEDICAL HISTORY
- LAST ORAL INTAKE
- EVENTS LEADING UP TO
Usually, in the case of examination, areas such as the head or those linked with the respiratory system have a higher priority, and are examined before the abdomen, so as to administer, if necessary, medical treatments which will immediately limit the amount of progressive damage which could be caused from such injuries. The amount of time spent on diagnosing abdominal injury should be minimal, and expedited by using relatively quick methods of determining the extent of such injury, such as by identifying free intra-abdominal fluid through diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL) before recommending a laparotomy if the situation requires one.