Evolution in the Management of the Complex Liver Injury at a Level I Trauma Center

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BackgroundManagement of the severe liver injury evolved from mandatory surgical repair to a more selective approach. This paper reviews the changes in management of the severe liver injury at a Level I trauma center.MethodsWe reviewed the records of patients with severe liver injury admitted to a Level I trauma center between January 1984 and December 1995. The patients were divided into two groups, G1 and G2, based on their date of admission before or after January 1991. The two groups were compared for blood products use, management of the liver injury, and outcome.ResultsOne hundred six patients were compared for age, sex, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, Injury Severity Score, abdominal Abbreviated Injury Scale score, and the presence of concomitant injuries. There was no difference in management or outcome of the victims of penetrating injury between G1 and G2 (n = 48). The blunt injury patients in G1 (n = 22) had more liver surgery (p = 0.006), blood transfusion (p = 0.040), intra-abdominal sepsis (6 vs. 0), and higher mortality (p = 0.041) than those in G2 (n = 36).ConclusionIsolated severe blunt liver injury may be managed nonoperatively with better survival and less blood products use.

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