Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Prospectively for 23 months, 289 patients with penetrating and 317 patients with blunt trauma to the lower chest and/or abdomen had amylase determinations in the peritoneal lavage as part of their initial evaluation. In nine (1.5%) of the 606 patients, the amylase in the lavage was higher than normal serum values and, when elevated, it identified intra-abdominal injury. Intra-abdominal injuries usually involved a hollow viscus injury—either isolated or combined with solid organ injuries—rather than pancreatic injury. Although elevation of the lavage amylase was a reliable indication of intra-abdominal injury in this series, we feel that routine use of this test ought to be abandoned because the lavage fluid content of red or white blood cells, or both, was also elevated in all but one patient (1/606).