Prognostic factors of liver injury in polytraumatic patients. Results from 895 severe abdominal trauma cases

Matthias Heuer, Georg Taeger, Gernot M Kaiser, Dieter Nast-Kolb, Christian A Kuehne, Steffen Ruchholtz, Rolf Lefering, Andreas Paul, Sven Lendemans
Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases: JGLD 2009, 18 (2): 197-203

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Prognosis of multiple injured patients is mainly limited by severe haemorrhage. Although mechanisms of altered immune response have been intensively investigated, little is known about the relevance of liver trauma as an independent predictive outcome factor in these patients.

METHODS: 10,469 patients from the DGU Trauma Registry (1993-2005) were retrospectively analyzed. Primary admitted patients with an injury severity score > or = 16, without isolated head injury were included. Patients were analyzed according to the injury pattern as liver injury (Abbreviated Injury Scale--AIS abdomen < 3 and AIS liver 2-5; n = 321), non-liver abdominal trauma (AIS abdomen 2-5 or AIS liver < 3; n = 574) and control group without abdominal injuries (AIS abdomen or liver < 3; n = 9,574).

RESULTS: Severe liver injury was associated with excessive demands for volume resuscitation and induced a significantly increased risk for sepsis and multi-organ failure (MOF) compared to both other groups (sepsis 19.9% vs. 11.0%; MOF 32.7% vs. 16.6%). Furthermore, deleterious outcome was more frequently associated with severe liver trauma (mortality 34.9%) compared to severe abdominal trauma (12.0%).

CONCLUSION: Severe liver trauma is an independent predictor for severe haemorrhage with a substantially increased risk of sepsis, MOF and trauma-related death. While conservative treatment of patients with liver trauma but no haemorrhage is effective, patients with hemodynamic instability seem to be from a subgroup where contemporary treatment modalities are not yet sufficient.

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