Injuries of the abdomen have always been associated with a relatively high mortality rate whether incurred in military or civilian experience. The management of such injuries in World War II effected a remarkable improvement in the results, when compared with those recorded in previous wars and with most reported comparable civilian series. In a review of the management, the difficulty in evaluation of the factors responsible for such improvement will become apparent. There seems little question, however, that resuscitation was the most important factor and that the technical procedure employed was perhaps the least. Certain peculiarities of war wounds of the abdomen, as type and character of wounding agent, prolonged preoperative time lag and battlefield contamination, do not invalidate the application of the responsible factors for the improvement to civilian injuries.
Primary care of the injured abdomen in warfare is essentially definitive in character—completed in a single phase—although the procedure