01.12.2010 | Original Article
Traumatic adrenal gland injury: epidemiology and outcomes in a major Australian trauma center
M. M. Alsayali, C. Atkin, R. Rahim, L. E. Niggemeyer, O. Doody, D. Varma
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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Adrenal gland injury (ADGI) is quite rare and mostly associated with other organ injuries secondary to blunt thoracoabdominal trauma. Bilateral ADGI has severe consequences if not discovered in the treatment course of trauma victims.
To review our experience of management of ADGI, epidemiology, and outcomes in a major Australian trauma institute.
A retrospective analysis of all patients presenting with thoracoabdominal trauma to the Alfred Hospital who had been diagnosed with adrenal gland injury between July 2001 and July 2007.
Of 3,921 patients with blunt thoracoabdominal injuries, 2.4% were identified with blunt ADGI (70 males and 26 women, age range 15–85 years). Right adrenal injuries occurred in 72.9%, left adrenal injuries in 22.9%, and bilateral ADGI in 4.2%. Computed tomography (CT) scan findings revealed 82.2% of acute injuries to be hyperdense hematoma expanding and distorting the adrenal gland. Periadrenal stranding and hemorrhagic changes around the adrenal limbs were seen in 12.5%. Oval or round lesions were seen in 3.1%. Surgery was performed in 25% of the study group for associated thoracoabdominal injuries. Patients with left adrenal gland injury had higher rates of mortality and morbidity, and length of stay.
ADGI is being increasingly recognized with the widespread use of CT scan in the evaluation of multitrauma patients. ADGI is usually self-limiting and typically managed nonoperatively. Acute adrenal insufficiency should be considered and investigated in case of unexplained hypotension in uni- or bilateral ADGI.