Delayed hemorrhage after nonoperative management of blunt hepatic trauma in children: A rare but significant event

Joel Shilyansky*, Oscar Navarro, Riccardo A. Superina, Paul S. Babyn, Robert M. Filler, Richard H. Pearl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: Nonoperative management of blunt hepatic injury (BHI) has become widely accepted in hemodynamically stable children without ongoing transfusion requirements. However, late hemorrhage, especially after discharge from the hospital can be devastating. The authors report the occurrence of serious late hemorrhage and the sentinel signs and symptoms in children at risk for this complication. Methods: Nonoperative management of hemodynamically stable children included computed tomography (CT) evaluation on admission and hospitalization with bed rest for 7 days, regardless of injury grade. Activity was restricted for 3 months after discharge. Hepatic injuries were classified according to grade, amount of hemoperitoneum, and periportal hypoattenuation. Results: Over 5 years, nonoperative management was successful in 74 of 75 children. One child returned to the hospital 3 days after discharge with recurrent hemorrhage necessitating surgical control. Review of the CT findings demonstrated that he was the only child with severe liver injury in all four classifications. A second child, initially treated at an outside hospital, presented 10 days after injury with ongoing bleeding and died despite surgical intervention. Only the two children with delayed bleeding had persistent right abdominal and shoulder discomfort in the week after BHI. Conclusions: Our findings support nonoperative management of BHI. However, late hemorrhage heralded by persistence of right abdominal and shoulder pain may occur in children with severe hepatic trauma and high injury severity scores in multiple classifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-64
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Computerized tomography
  • Hemorrhage
  • Injury
  • Liver
  • Nonoperative management
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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