Diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL) was once the modality of choice for determining if there was free intraperitoneal fluid in trauma patients. It remains the most sensitive test for detecting hollow viscus injury. However, it is invasive and with the widespread use of ultrasound and CT, DPL is now performed very rarely in the Emergency Department.
While it is still incorporated in some trauma algorithms, the Northern Region Trauma Network has chosen not to advocate its routine use in the emergency care of trauma patients and has omitted it from these guidelines. An experienced trauma practitioner may of course choose to perform this test at their discretion.
About this guideline
Published: February 2018
Author: Emma Batistich
Approved by: Northern Region Trauma Network, ADHB, WDHB, CMDHB, NDHB
Review due: 2 years