Assault induced stab injuries : epidemiology and actual treatment strategy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta chirurgica Belgica. - Brussel, 1946 - 1996
, p. 146-154
University of Antwerp
Objectives : To investigate and analyse epidemiology, demographics and patterns of presentation of assault induced stab injuries in a main Belgian trauma centre. To evaluate surgical management, complications and postoperative follow-up of the stab wound victims. Methods : One hundred and seventy assaulted patients, hospitalised because of stab injuries from January 2000 to June 2007 are studied retrospectively. Results : Ninety-five percent of the assaults occurred on men and the mean age of the patients was 31.1 +/- 9.7 years. Ethnic minorities represent 77% of the patients hospitalised for assaults and 26.5% of all patients proved to be under toxic influence, predominantly from alcohol (21.8%). A decline of admissions of patients with stab injuries during the period 20022004 is recorded. However, the incidence doubled in the next two-year period. A weekend peak and circadian rhythm is apparent with more than 20% of the patients admitted between 4 and 6 am. The trunk is most frequently stabbed (54.5%) resulting in a laparotomy rate of 51%. One third of the patients who underwent thoraco-abdominal surgery revealed diaphragmatic injuries. Seventy-five percent of the patients left the hospital in a good condition while 2.4% had neuromuscular lesions. Two patients had serious vascular complications during follow-up. During the study period, no mortality was recorded. Conclusions : Stab wounds were recorded mainly in young and middle-aged men from ethnic minorities, whereas almost 27% were under the influence of drugs. A conservative approach was generally used resulting in a low laparotomy and thoracotomy rate without affecting mortality. Neuromuscular lesions are important long-term complications of stab injuries.