Treatment of Liver Trauma: Operative or Conservative Management

Carmen Garcia Bernardo, Josep Fuster, Ernest Bombuy, Santiago Sanchez, Joana Ferrer, Marco Antonio Loera, Josep Marti, Constantino Fondevila, Elisabeth Zavala, Juan Carlos Garcia-Valdecasas


Background: The liver is one of the most frequently damaged organs when abdominal trauma occurs. Currently, a conservative management constitutes the treatment of choice in patients with hemodynamic stability. The aim of this study is to evaluate the results of an operative and conservative management of 143 patients with liver injury treated in a single institution.

Methods: A retrospective study of the patients admitted with the diagnosis of liver trauma was performed from 1992-2008. The patients were classified according to the intention to treatment: Group I, operative management; Group II, conservative management. Variables analyzed included demographic data, injury classification, associated lesions, surgical treatment, transfusions, morbi-mortality, and hospital stay. We established two periods (1992-1999; 2000-2008) in order to compare diagnosis and management.

Results: A total of 143 patients were analyzed. Thirty-one percent correspond to severe injuries. Conservative treatment was followed in 60.8 % with surgery undertaken in 14.9 % of patients from this group due to failure of conservative treatment. Immediate surgery was carried out in 38.2 %. Total mortality was 14 %. Morbidity (35.7-38.5 %) in the group of immediate surgery and failure of conservative management is similar, but not in mortality (28.6-15.4 %). In the second group (2000-2008) there are more patients with conservative treatment, with a low percentage of failure of this treatment and morbi-mortality.

Conclusions: Conservative treatment is an adequate treatment in a great number of patients. Failure of conservative treatment did not show a higher incidence of complications or mortality but it should be performed in centers with experienced surgeons.

Gastroenterol Res. 2010;3(1):9-18


Liver trauma; Conservative management; Surgical treatment

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