A Comparison of Self-Inflicted Stab Wounds Versus Assault-Induced Stab Wounds




Background: Although self-inflicted and assault-induced knife injuries might have different mortality and morbidity rates, no studies have actually evaluated the importance of the cause of knife injuries in terms of patient outcomes and treatment strategies. Objectives: The aims of this study were to assess the difference between the outcomes of patients presenting with self-inflicted stab wounds (SISW) versus assault-induced stab wounds (AISW). Patients and Methods: A retrospective review of the relevant electronic medical records was performed for the period between January 2000 and December 2012 for patients who were referred to the department of surgery for stab wounds by the trauma team. The patients were divided into either SISW (n = 10) or AISW groups (n = 11), depending on the cause of the injury. Results: A total of 19 patients had undergone exploratory laparotomy. Of the nine patients with SISW undergoing this procedure, no injury was found in seven of the patients. In the AISW group, eight of the ten laparotomies were therapeutic. Three patients in the AISW group died during hospital admission. The average number of stab wounds was 1.2 for the SISW group and 3.5 for the AISW group. Organ injuries were more frequent in the AISW group, affecting the lung (2), diaphragm (3), liver (5), small bowel (2), colon (2), and kidney (1). Conclusions: Although evaluations of the initial vital signs and physical examinations are still important, the history regarding the source of the stab wounds (AISW vs. SISW) may be helpful in determining the appropriate treatment methods and predicting patient outcomes.