Non-operative management of blunt hepatic trauma

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Non-operative management is currently considered the treatment of choice in over 50 per cent of adult patients with blunt liver injury. This report reviews the criteria for non-operative management and its potential downside.


English language publications were reviewed.


Most reports from major trauma centres in the USA support the non-operative treatment of patients with blunt liver injury if well established criteria are met. Using such criteria, non-operative treatment is successful in 50-80 per cent of cases. Adjunctive radiological techniques may be helpful in managing some complications of non-operative treatment.


Non-operative management is safe in haemodynamically stable patients with blunt liver injury. Computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen is extremely useful to document the extent of the damage and the presence of associated injuries, but it is not possible, based on CT alone, to predict failure; careful physiological monitoring in selected patients is indicated to avoid catastrophic complications.

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