Blunt hepatic trauma in adults: CT-based classification and correlation with prognosis and treatment

Radiology. 1989 Apr;171(1):27-32. doi: 10.1148/radiology.171.1.2928537.


To further define the computed tomographic (CT) criteria on which to guide the nonsurgical treatment of adult patients with blunt hepatic injury, the authors retrospectively reviewed abdominal CT scans obtained before surgery during a 35-month period. Blunt hepatic injury was diagnosed in 187 patients, and review revealed 37 patients in whom the liver was the site of sole or principal intraabdominal injury detected with the help of CT before surgery. A CT-based hepatic injury classification system partly derived from similar systems established with surgical assessment was devised to grade the severity of hepatic injury. CT-based injury scores ranging from grade 1 to 5 were compared with the clinical outcome in patients treated surgically and nonsurgically. Thirty-one patients (83.7%) were successfully treated without surgery, and four patients (10.8%) had findings at celiotomy that did not require further surgery. No patient who was initially treated without surgery required delayed celiotomy due to hepatic injury. The results indicate that even major hepatic injury up to and including grade 4 severity assessed with preoperative CT can usually be managed without surgery in hemodynamically stable patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / injuries*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy