PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine how well multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scans predict the need for a laparotomy in patients with anterior abdominal stab injuries. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eighty patients with abdominal stab injuries who underwent MDCT scans were enrolled. MDCT was performed to identify active bleeding and injured organs and to assess the accuracy between MDCT and the laparotomy findings. MDCT was considered positive or negative with respect to the need for an exploratory laparotomy. The diagnostic performance of MDCT for identifying the need for laparotomy was estimated. RESULTS: MDCT predicted bowel and mesentery injuries in 31 of 80 patients and 28 patients were truly positive. MDCT predicted active bleeding in 23 of 80 patients and 19 patients had active bleeding. MDCT predicted the need for laparotomy in 43 of 80 patients. A laparotomy was performed in 55 of the 80 patients and 42 were therapeutic. Overall, a MDCT scan predicted the need for laparotomy with 95% sensitivity, 92% specificity, and 93% accuracy. CONCLUSION: MDCT scans can be used to identify active bleeding and injured organs and are an effective tool for determining the need for surgical exploration.