• We evaluated the role of nonoperative therapy in 16 patients with blunt multisystem trauma, hemodynamic stability following resuscitation, and major lobar liver injury; the patients were treated with a protocol of intensive care unit observation and computed tomographic scanning to identify and follow up the hepatic lesion. Computed tomographic scans showed right-lobe or bilobar liver lacerations and/or subcapsular hematomas in all patients and associated hemoperitoneum in 8 patients. Exploration was required in 2 patients; both were found to have a hemoperitoneum and a nonbleeding liver laceration. There were no deaths. Patients with hemoperitoneum requiring transfusion had significantly greater injury severity scores and longer intensive care unit and hospital stays. The major advantage of a nonoperative approach is the opportunity to stabilize major extra-abdominal (particularly head) injuries as the first priority. Unstable hemodynamics, abdominal distension, and falling hematocrit are indications for prompt exploration. Nonoperative care of these injuries requires a strict treatment protocol.
(Arch Surg. 1990;125:101-103)