Nonoperative Management of Solid Abnominal Organ Injuries from Blunt Trauma: Impact of Neurologic Impairment

Shapiro, Michael B.; Hoff, William S.; Kauder, Donald R.; Schwab, C. William; Nance, Michael L.; Schiller, Henry J.
August 2001
American Surgeon;Aug2001, Vol. 67 Issue 8, p793
Academic Journal
The role of nonoperative management of solid abdominal organ injury from blunt trauma in neurologically impaired patients has been questioned. A statewide trauma registry was reviewed from January 1993 through December 1995 for all adult (age >12 years) patients with blunt trauma and an abdominal solid organ injury (kidney, liver, or spleen) of Abbreviated Injury Scale score is greater than or equal to 2. Patients with initial hypotension (systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg) were excluded. Patients were stratified by Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) into normal (GCS 15), mild to moderate (GCS 8-14), and severe (GCS less than or equal to 7) impairment groups. Management was either operative or nonoperative; failure of nonoperative management was defined as requiring laparotomy for intraabdominal injury more than 24 hours after admission. In the 3-year period 2327 patients sustained solid viscus injuries; 1561 of these patients were managed nonoperatively (66 per cent). The nonoperative approach was initiated less frequently in those patients with greater impairment in mental status: GCS 15, 71 per cent; GCS 8 to 14, 62 per cent; and GCS less than or equal to 7, 50 per cent. Mortality, hospital length of stay, and intensive care unit days were greater in operatively managed GCS 15 and 8 to 14 groups but were not different on the basis of management in the GCS less than or equal to 7 group. Failure of nonoperative management occurred in 94 patients (6%). There was no difference in the nonoperative failure rate between patients with normal mental status and those with mild to moderate or severe head injuries. Nonoperative management of neurologically impaired hemodynamically stable patients with blunt injuries of liver, spleen, or kidney is commonly practiced and is successful in more than 90 per cent of cases. No differences were noted in the rates of delayed laparotomy or survival between normal, mild to moderately head-injured, and severely head-injured patients.


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