01.12.2011 | Original Article
Efficacy and safety of non-operative management of blunt liver trauma
C. Morales, L. Barrera, M. Moreno, M. Villegas, J. Correa, L. Sucerquia, W. Sanchez
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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The liver is the most frequently affected organ during blunt abdominal trauma. Blunt liver trauma management has changed in the last two decades with the introduction of the computed tomography (CT) scan and non-operative management of stable patients.
To determine the incidence, efficacy, and failure rate of blunt liver trauma non-operative management as well as the risk factors associated with such treatment in a level 1 trauma center in Colombia.
We conducted an observational descriptive study on patients with blunt liver trauma who were admitted to a level 1 trauma center in Colombia. The evaluated outcomes were indications of immediate surgical treatment and the success of non-operative management.
A total of 73 patients were studied. The most common mechanism of trauma continues to be motor vehicle crashes. In 14 patients (19.2%), immediate surgical intervention was necessary and we observed a Revised Trauma Score (RTS) above 7.8 and intra-abdominal injuries as risk factors. Three patients died (21.4%). Fifty-nine patients (80.8%) received non-operative management, which failed in seven patients (11.2%). Age, severity of liver injury, and intra-abdominal injuries were not risk factors in the failure of non-operative management. Mortality in the non-operative management group was 1.7%.
Non-operative management is the treatment of choice for polytraumatized patients with blunt liver trauma who are hemodynamically stable. Non-operative management is an effective and safe treatment strategy. However, patients with an RTS score under 7.8 and other intra-abdominal non-liver injuries are at increased risk for an immediate surgical intervention.