Blunt abdominal trauma is a major cause of death in the United States. However, little experimental work has been done to clarify the mechanism of blunt abdominal injury and to quantify tolerance parameters for the abdominal organs.
This paper describes a joint study by the Highway Safety Research Institute and the Section of General Surgery of The University of Michigan in which direct impacts were applied to livers and kidneys. The tests were performed in a high-speed testing machine at a controlled ram velocity and stroke limit. The organ was surgically mobilized in anesthesized Rhesus monkeys and then placed on a load cell while still being perfused in the living animal. Tests were performed at ram speeds of 120, 6000, and 12000 in/min (5, 250,and 500 cm/s). The resulting load-deflection data were normalized and average stress-strain curves plotted for each test. In addition, the resulting injury severity was estimated immediately after impact using an injury scale of 1 to 5.
A discussion of the injury mechanisms observed in the tests is given, and correlation between injury severity and the mechanical parameters of stress, strain, and strain energy produced in the tissue of the organ is presented.