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Concomitant injuries are an important determinant of outcome of high‐grade blunt hepatic trauma. BJS 2009; 96: 104-110.

Published: 24th December 2008

Authors: B. Schnüriger, D. Inderbitzin, M. Schafer, R. Kickuth, A. Exadaktylos, D. Candinas et al.


Little is known about the clinical importance of concomitant injuries in polytraumatized patients with high‐grade blunt liver injury. A retrospective single‐centre study was performed to investigate the safety of non‐operative management of liver injury and the impact of concomitant intra‐ and extra‐abdominal injuries on clinical outcome.


Some 183 patients with blunt liver injury were admitted to Berne University Hospital, Switzerland, between January 2000 and December 2006. Grade 3–5 injuries were considered to be high grade.


Immediate laparotomy was required by 35 patients (19·1 per cent), owing to extrahepatic intra‐abdominal injury (splenic and vascular injuries, perforations) in 21 cases. The mortality rate was 16·9 per cent; 22 of the 31 deaths were due to concomitant lesions. Of 81 patients with high‐grade liver injury, 63 (78 per cent) were managed without surgery; liver‐related and extra‐abdominal complication rates in these patients were 11 and 17 per cent respectively. Grades 4 and 5 liver injury were associated with hepatic‐related and extra‐abdominal complications.


Concomitant injuries are a major determinant of outcome in patients with blunt hepatic injury and should be given high priority by trauma surgeons. An algorithm for the management of blunt liver injury is proposed. Copyright © 2008 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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