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

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Abstract

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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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