Evaluation of gunshot wounds in the emergency department

Mehmet Ali Karaca*, Nil Deniz Kartal, Bülent Erbil, Elif Öztürk, Mehmet Mahir Kunt, Tevfik Tolga Şahin, Mehmet Mahir Özmen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to evaluate injury patterns of patients admitted to the emergency department with gunshot wounds, results of imaging studies, treatment modalities, outcomes, mortality ratios, and complications. METHODS: A retrospective descriptive study was carried out including a total number of one hundred and forty-two patients admitted to Hacettepe University Emergency Department with gunshot injuries between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2013. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), Revised Trauma Score (RTS), Injury Severity Score (ISS), and the Trauma and Injury Severity Score (TRISS) probability of survival for penetrating trauma were calculated for all patients. RESULTS: Among the one hundred and forty-two patients in the study, one hundred and twenty-eight (90.1%) were male. Mean age was 36 years. On admission, the average GCS score was 13, mean RTS was 6.64, median ISS was 5 and median TRISS probability for survival was 99.4% for penetrating trauma. Fluid was detected in three (13%) patients in FAST, whereas intra-abdominal solid organ injury and bowel injury were detected in 11 (58%) patients in abdominal CT. The pneumothorax, hemothorax and lung injuries were detected in 10 (43.5%) patients, whereas hemothorax was detected only in one patient with thoracic injury by chest X-ray. Twenty four (16.9%) patients died; eighteen patients (75%) had isolated severe intracranial injuries, two (8.9%) had thoracic injuries with head and neck injuries, and four (16.7%) patients had intra-abdominal organ injuries (one with concomitant head injury). Ten patients were brought to the ED in cardiopulmonary arrest. In dead patients, GCS, RTS and TRISS were significantly lower, and ISS were significantly higher than in surviving patients. Twenty three (95.8%) patients were in critical injury level (ISS 25-75, actually ISS >50) in the exitus group. CONCLUSION: Mortality rates in gunshot wound patients with cranial injuries are very high. Spontaneous return is not seen in patients brought to the ED in arrest state. Bullets can cause internal organ injuries which can be greater than expected. In thoracoabdominal gunshot wound injuries, conventional X-ray and bedside FAST can be ineffective in detecting the whole extent of intrathoracic and intra-abdominal injuries. Thus, thoracic and abdominal CT should be planned early for hemodynamically stable patients in order to eliminate causes of fatality and make a timely and correct diagnosis. ISS, RTS and GCS are useful in predicting prognosis and mortality. Especially in patients with ISS scores >50, the mortality rate can be as high as 96%.

Translated title of the contributionAcil serviste ateşli silah yaralanmalarının analizi
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalUlusal Travma ve Acil Cerrahi Dergisi
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 TJTES


  • Emergency department
  • GCS
  • Gunshot injury
  • ISS
  • RTS
  • Trauma


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