Background: Severe hepatic injuries may be highly lethal, and perihepatic packing remains the mainstay of treatment. This is not always successful, particularly in the setting of hypothermia and coagulopathy. Kaolin-impregnated Combat Gauze (CG) is an effective hemostatic dressing used primarily to treat external wounds. The objective of this study was to determine the ability of CG to control severe hemorrhage in hypothermic, coagulopathic swine with a high-grade hepatic injury.
Methods: Anesthetized animals underwent splenectomy and were cooled to 32°C while undergoing a 60% exchange transfusion with Hextend. A grade V liver injury was created in the left middle hepatic lobe. Animals were allowed to freely bleed for 30 s and then randomized to treatment with CG or plain gauze laparotomy pads (PG) applied to the injury site. Animals were then resuscitated with warmed Hextend.
Results: There was no difference between groups in preinjury hemodynamic or laboratory values. Animals packed with CG had less blood loss when compared with standard packing (CG = 25 mL/kg versus PG = 58 mL/kg, P = 0.05). There was a trend towards lower hetastarch resuscitation requirements in the CG group (CG = 7 mL/kg versus PG = 44 mL/kg, P = 0.06) but no statistically significant difference in mortality (CG = 13% versus PG = 50%, P = 0.11). Histology of the injury sites revealed more adherent clot in the CG group, but no inflammation, tissue necrosis, or residual material.
Conclusion: In pigs with severe hepatic injury, Combat Gauze reduced blood loss and resuscitation requirements when compared with plain laparotomy pads. Combat Gauze may be safe and effective for use on severe liver injuries.
Keywords: Animal model; Coagulopathy; Hemostatic agent; Hypothermia; Kaolin gauze; Liver injury.
Published by Elsevier Inc.