"Blush" on trauma computed tomography: Not as bad as we think!

Maria Michailidou, George C. Velmahos*, Gwen Van Der Wilden, Hasan B. Alam, Marc De Moya, Yuchiao Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Intravenous contrast extravasation (IVCE) on a trauma computed tomography has been quoted as a reason for intervention (angiographic embolization or operation). The new-generation computed tomographic (CT) scanners identify IVCE with increasing frequency. We hypothesized that most IVCEs do not require an intervention. Methods: This study was a retrospective evaluation of trauma patients with IVCE on abdomen or pelvis CT scan (January 2005-December 2009). Along with demographic and hemodynamic variables, the following characteristics of IVCE were examined as potential risk factors for intervention: maximal dimension, small (≤1.5 cm) versus large (>1.5 cm), contained versus free, and single versus multiple and location. Results: Sixty-nine patients with 81 IVCEs were identified: 48 IVCEs occurred in intra-abdominal solid organs, 18 IVCEs in the pelvic retroperitoneal space, and 15 IVCEs in the soft tissues or other locations. Thirty patients (43.5%) were managed without an intervention, and 39 patients (56.5%) required either an immediate (30 patients) or a delayed (9 patients) intervention. Multivariate analysis identified three independent predictors of an intervention: an admission systolic blood pressure of 100 mm Hg or lower, a large ICVE, and an Abbreviated Injury Score of the abdomen of 3 or higher. If all three independent predictors were present, 100% of patients received an intervention. Conclusion: Nearly half of IVCEs on CT scan did not require an intervention. A hypotension at admission, a severe abdominal trauma, and a blush diameter of 1.5 cm or greater predicted the need for intervention. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, level IV; prognostic study, level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-586
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • blush
  • Computed tomography
  • contrast extravasation
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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