Management of motorcycle accident-related blunt hepatic injury-a different strategy

Am J Emerg Med. 2010 Feb;28(2):177-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2008.11.001.


Background: In motorcycle accidents, especially in an urban area with lightweight motorcycles, the belly of the motorcyclist is not protected, and this makes this type of trauma a cause of blunt hepatic injuries. This study investigated the effect and safety of using nonoperative management and selective early angioembolization to treat patients with blunt liver injuries as a result of motorcycle accident.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of the hepatic injuries sustained by motorcyclists involved in traffic accidents. We collected patient demographic information, the severity of total injuries, grade of liver injury, associated concomitant injuries, management scheme, and outcome of patients from 2006 to 2007. These patients were treated nonoperatively with selective early angioembolization and close monitoring in our intensive care unit (ICU).

Results: We reviewed the cases of 266 patients sustaining blunt abdominal injuries. Thirty-four patients (12.78%) had hepatic injuries. All survived with no obvious morbidity, and no further invasive procedures were performed after admission to ICU. There was no significant association between grade of injury and ICU length of stay (P = .073), but there was a significant association between grade and in-patient length of stay on our regular ward (P = .001).

Conclusion: Most patients with hepatic injury caused by motorcycle accidents can be treated safely by nonoperative management. Early selective angioembolization improved the success of nonoperative management of blunt liver injury without other surgical intervention. Routine follow-up with computed axial tomography scans and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography may not be necessary because complications associated with hepatic injuries were rare.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / injuries*
  • Male
  • Motorcycles*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy*