A medical study was done from 1978-1982 that looked at 196 patients who suffered blunt trauma to the colon, small bowel or mesentery. They were treated at a major shock trauma center in Maryland. Greater than 80 percent of the patients were victims of motor vehicle trauma and many had injuries involving more than just the Gl tract.
Sixty of the patients had significant injuries, such as perforation or mesenteric injury with resulting dead bowel tissue. This group accounted for more than 7 percent of the people who had a celiotomy during the same time period. All injuries except for one were diagnosed through the use of peritoneal lavage. Only two people had duodenal injuries. The small bowel often had perforations along the entire course. Colon injuries made up a fourth of all blunt trauma to bowel, mostly occurring in the ascending colon and the sigmoid colon. Of this group, 16 people died. Six of the deaths were directly related to their bowel injury.