Evolution of management of major hepatic trauma: Identification of patterns of injury

D. C. Boone, M. Federle, T. R. Billiar, A. O. Udekwu, A. B. Peitzman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Nonoperative management of hemodynamically stable patients following blunt hepatic trauma identified by computed tomography (CT) has been reported in up to 20% of patients presenting with hepatic injury, predominantly low grade. We reviewed 128 consecutive adult patients sustaining blunt hepatic trauma with the hypothesis that severe hepatic injuries (grades III to V) could be safely managed nonoperatively and to determine anatomic pattern and severity of hepatic injuries. Sixty-two of the 128 patients (47%) went directly for laparotomy, based on physical findings or positive peritoneal lavage. Sixty- six patients were hemodynamically stable and underwent abdominal CT scanning; 70% (46 of 66) were successfully managed nonoperatively. Fifty-one percent of grade III and IV injuries were treated nonoperatively. However, the majority of patients with grade V injuries were unstable, and 92% required laparotomy. Twenty-six of 46 patients treated nonoperatively (56%) had injury to the posterior segment of the right lobe of the liver or a 'split liver.' In retrospect, only 33% of patients with hepatic injury required laparotomy for therapy of the liver injury. Hemodynamic stability and anatomic pattern of injury on presentation were important factors in successful nonoperative management of hepatic injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-350
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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