Delayed Small Bowel Perforation in a Pre-Existing Ventral Hernia After Blunt Trauma

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A hollow viscus injury is an uncommon but potentially dangerous intra-abdominal injury that can result from blunt abdominal trauma. It can be misdiagnosed in patient, particularly when the patient has other concerning findings. Also, diagnosis can be increasingly difficult in a patient with a pre-existing ventral hernia and chronic abdominal pain. In this case we present a 66-year-old women, with a history of a large ventral hernia and chronic abdominal pain, who presented to the emergency department after a motor vehicle crash (MVC). Patient denied abdominal tenderness at the time of presentation and the initial computed tomography (CT) did not demonstrate any abnormal findings within the abdomen. Patient later began experiencing increased abdominal pain and presented with a small bowel perforation within the hernia that required a bowel resection and hernia repair. A review of the literature reveals that not only are hollow viscus injuries rare but there appears to be few documented cases of viscus injuries occurring within a existing ventral hernia.