Presently available techniques for control of hepatic hemorrhage in patients with extensive parenchymal injuries include direct suture, topical hemostatic agents, hepatotomy or resectional debridement with selective vascular ligation, lobectomy, and selective hepatic artery ligation. In many trauma centers the placement of intra-abdominal packing for hepatic tamponade has been an infrequently used technique in recent years. From 1 July 1978 to 1 September 1980, ten patients with continued hepatic parenchymal oozing following all attempts at surgical control of extensive injuries were treated by the insertion of intra-abdominal packing around the liver as a last desperate maneuver. Packing was removed at relaparotomy in four patients and through abdominal drain sites in five patients. Nine of ten patients survived, and there were no instances of rebleeding following removal of the packing. Four patients developed postoperative perihepatic collections and two of the four patients underwent reoperation for drainage. Based on the recent experience at the Ben Taub General Hospital, intra-abdominal packing for control of exsanguinating hepatic hemorrhage appears to be a lifesaving maneuver in highly selected patients in whom coagulopathies, hypothermia, and acidosis make further surgical efforts likely to increase hemorrhage.
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