Continuing evolution in the approach to severe liver trauma.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Surgical and radiologic techniques from computed tomography (CT) scanning and embolization to temporary gauze packing and mesh hepatorrhaphy have been developed to make the management of severe liver injuries more effective. Surgical approaches for severe liver trauma have been oriented to two major consequences of these injuries: hemorrhage and infection. Early attempts at hemorrhagic control found benefit only in temporary intrahepatic gauze packing. The subsequent recognition of complications after liver injury blamed the practice of packing, which then remained unused for more than 30 years. Yet more aggressive attempts at controlling hemorrhage without temporary packing failed to improve results. Temporary perihepatic gauze packing therefore has been reintroduced, but this is probably an imperfect solution. Mesh hepatorrhaphy may control bleeding without many of the adverse effects of packing. Fourteen patients are reported with severe liver injuries who have undergone mesh hepatorrhaphy, bringing the current reported experience with mesh hepatorrhaphy to 24, with a combined mortality rate of 37.5%. Thus far, it appears that only juxtacaval injuries fail to have their hemorrhage controlled with mesh hepatorrhaphy, but many believe that these injuries may be controlled by perihepatic packing. Prophylactic drainage of severe liver injuries is a concept for which there is little evidence of benefit. Furthermore, recent radiologic developments appear capable of draining those collections that do occasionally develop in the postoperative period. The ultimate challenge of liver transplantation for trauma has been attempted, but the experience is thus far very limited.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Reed, RL; Merrell, RC; Meyers, WC; Fischer, RP

Published Date

  • November 1992

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 216 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 524 - 538

PubMed ID

  • 1444644

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1242669

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-4932

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00000658-199211000-00002


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States