Management of Hepatic Trauma: a 9-Year Experience in 's-Hertogenbosch

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In patients who sustain abdominal trauma the liver is the most frequently injured organ. Although treatment for haemodynamically unstable patients remains urgent surgery, there has been a shift of management in haemodynamacally stable patients towards non-operative management. We performed an outcome assessment of traumatic hepatic injury.


A retrospective study was performed to assess incidence, mechanisms, management and outcome of traumatic liver injury in the region of 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, in the period 1999-2007.


A total of 47 patients were identified. Thirty-six patients had blunt hepatic trauma, eleven sustained penetrating hepatic injury. In 67% (n = 24) of the blunt hepatic trauma patients the initial intention was to treat non-operatively. Yet, two patients underwent explorative laparotomy after one and two days. In the penetrating liver trauma patients, 91% (n = 10) underwent urgent surgery. In total, 31 of 47 patients were treated conservatively.


Blunt hepatic trauma is the most common cause of hepatic trauma. Most patients sustaining hepatic trauma can be managed conservatively at a dedicated ICU and/or surgical trauma ward.

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