PURPOSE: The likelihood of re-bleeding after damage-control surgery (DCS) and perihepatic packing for high-grade liver injuries is a major concern. Thus, although early re-laparotomy tends to be recommended, we conducted this study to evaluate the feasibility of performing definite laparotomy within ≤ 48 h in this clinical population.
METHODS: The subjects of this retrospective study were 65 patients (n = 24, ≤ 48-h group; n = 41, > 48-h group) who underwent DCS and perihepatic packing. The primary outcome was the rate of repacking for bleeding during re-laparotomy and the secondary outcomes were mortality and length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU).
RESULTS: The ≤ 48-h group had a higher rate of angioembolization and transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs), fresh frozen plasma, and platelets, but the rates of repacking and mortality were not significantly different between the groups. However, the incidence of pneumonia and ventilation support requirement were significantly lower in the ≤ 48-h group than in the > 48-h group.
CONCLUSION: The re-laparotomy performed within ≤ 48 h after DCS and perihepatic packing is feasible for patients with high grade liver injury, using angioembolization and aggressive transfusion, as required. Early re-laparotomy reduces the need for prolonged ventilator support and the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia.
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