Cirrhosis and trauma: a deadly duo

A Britton Christmas, Ashley K Wilson, Glen A Franklin, Frank B Miller, J David Richardson, Jorge L Rodriguez
American Surgeon 2005, 71 (12): 996-1000
It has been previously reported that trauma patients with cirrhosis undergoing emergency abdominal operations exhibit a fourfold increase in mortality independent of their Child's classification. We undertook this review to assess the impact of cirrhosis on trauma patients. We reviewed the records of patients from 1993 to 2003 with documented hepatic cirrhosis and compared them to a 2:1 control population without hepatic cirrhosis and matched for age, sex, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and Glasgow Coma Score (GCS). Demographic, severity of injury, and outcome data were recorded. Student's t test and X2 were used for statistical analysis and a P < 0.05 was significant. Sixty-one patients had documented cirrhosis and were compared to 156 matched controls. Comparing the two groups demonstrates there was no difference in age, ISS, or GCS. Intensive care stay, hospital length of stay, blood requirements in the first 24 hours postinjury, and mortality (33% vs 1%) was significantly greater in the trauma patients with cirrhosis. Fifty-five per cent of deaths in the cirrhosis group was due to sepsis, and, as the Child's class increases, so does the mortality (Child's A, 15%; B, 37%; and C, 63%). In 64 per cent of cirrhotics without an emergent abdominal operation, mortality was 21 per cent. In the 36 per cent of cirrhotics who had emergent abdominal operation, mortality was 55 per cent. Hepatic cirrhosis in trauma patients, regardless of severity of injury or the need for an abdominal intervention, is a poor prognostic indicator. The necessity of an abdominal operative intervention further amplifies this effect. Trauma and cirrhosis is, in fact, a deadly duo.

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