Liver trauma in the intensive care unit

Alexandra Hetherington, Filipe S. Cardoso, Erica L.W. Lester, Constantine J. Karvellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the surgical and critical care management of liver trauma; one of the most common abdominal injuries sustained due to its size and location. RECENT FINDINGS: Hepatic injuries range from negligible to life threatening: in the acute phase, the most common cause of morbidity and mortality is hemorrhage; however, severe traumatic hepatic injuries can also lead to biochemical abnormalities, altered coagulation, and ultimately liver failure. This brief review will review the classification of traumatic liver injuries by mechanism, grade, and severity. Most Grades I-III injuries can be managed nonoperatively, whereas the majority of Grades IV-VI injuries require operative management. Therapeutic strategies for traumatic liver injury including nonoperative, operative, radiologic will be described. The primary goal of liver trauma management in the acute setting is hemorrhage control, then the management of secondary factors such as bile leaks. The rapid restoration of homeostasis may prevent further damage to the liver and allow for deferred nonoperative management, which has been shown to be associated with good clinical outcomes. SUMMARY: A multidisciplinary approach to the care of these patients at an experienced liver surgery center is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-189
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in critical care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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