J Korean Surg Soc.  2003 Mar;64(3):229-235.

A Comparison of Safety between the Operative and Nonoperative Management of Traumatic Liver Injury

  • 1Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea. kckim@chosun.ac.kr


The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety of the nonoperative management of traumatic liver injuries. METHODS: The medical records of 67 patients, with traumatic liver injury, between January 1998 and December 2001, were reviewed retrospectively, with respect to the cause of injury, combined injury, hemodynamic stability, amount of transfusion, liver injury grade, length of hospital stay and complications. RESULTS: Of the 67 patients, 30 were treated operatively (Group A), and 37 nonoperatively (Group B). The initial systolic blood pressure in Group A was significantly lower than that in Group B (81.33+/-23.00 vs 108.10+/-20.66 mmHg, P<0.001). The amount of transfusion for hemodynamic stability were 2.83 and 0.89 units (P<0.01), and the mean total transfusion requirement and injury grade were 10.30 and 1.29 units (P<0.001). 3.63+/-0.99 and 2.48+/-1.12 (P<0.001) for Groups A and B. The duration of intensive care unit stay in Group A was significantly shorter than that of Group B (6.70+/-6.12 vs. 3.13+/-4.00 days, P<0.01), but there was no difference in total length of hospital stay. The complication rates in Groups A and B were 63.3 and 21.8%, respectively (P<0.01), and the most common complications were respiratory problems, such as pleural effusion, pneumonia, atelectasis and pulmonary edema. Five patients in Group A died, 2 from hypovolemic shock, and one each from disseminated intravascular coagulation, multiple organ failure, and respiratory failure, but no patients in Group B died. CONCLUSION: Nonoperative management is safe for hemodynamically stable patients with traumatic liver injury, regardless of the injury severity, but close observation and frequent physical examinations must be adhered to.


Traumatic liver injury; Operative management; Nonoperative management

MeSH Terms

Blood Pressure
Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
Intensive Care Units
Length of Stay
Medical Records
Multiple Organ Failure
Physical Examination
Pleural Effusion
Pulmonary Atelectasis
Pulmonary Edema
Respiratory Insufficiency
Retrospective Studies
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