Management of blunt hepatic injuries

Rodney M. Durham, John Buckley, Mary Keegan, Sharon Fravell, Marc J. Shapiro, John Mazuski

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75 Scopus citations


Sixty-three consecutive patients with blunt hepatic trauma were examined. Twenty-four patients underwent immediate operation, and 39 patients were evaluated by computed tomography (CT), of whom 17 underwent operation. Ten patients had no hepatic abnormalities on CT and had operations for associated injuries. Liver injuries were noted in the remaining seven patients, but CT underestimated the injury in four patients. A large hemoperitoneum was present in all seven patients by CT, and the average transfusion was 10 U during initial resuscitation. Twenty-two patients with grade I to III injuries and a small to moderate hemoperitoneum were managed nonoperatively. Six of these patients had transfusions during resuscitation. Only one patient received more than 2 U. There were no deaths and no major complications related to the liver injury. Most patients had repeat CT at 1 week, which demnostrated stable or improving injuries. CT may underestimate the degree of liver injury. Nonoperative management is appropriate in stable patients with grade I to III injuries and a small to moderate hemoperitoneum. These patients should require no more than 2 U of blood, and repeat scans should demonstrate a stable injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-481
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1992


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