Physical injury to the abdominal organs can occur from blunt (car accidents, falls, or sports injuries) or penetrating (gun shot or stab wounds) trauma. The most commonly injured organs from blunt and penetrating sources include the liver and spleen. However, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas, abdominal compartment syndrome (increased pressure in the abdomen), and gastrointestinal (GI) and esophageal bleeding can also occur.
The abdominal (peritoneal) cavity contains many vital organs which can be described as either hollow or solid.
Hollow organ injuries – A hollow organ is an organ that contains a lumen, or a hollow space. Hollow organs are usually injured by a penetrating trauma. These injuries usually involve a perforation, or tear, of the organ. When a hollow organ is torn, the contents of that organ can leak into the abdominal cavity, increasing the risk of infection and potentially leading to sepsis. The following are considered hollow organs: esophagus, small intestine, colon (large intestine), stomach.
Solid organ injuries– The solid organs consist of the remainder of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The following organs are considered solid organs: gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, liver kidney, adrenal glands.