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Cardiopulmonary hazards of perihepatic packing for major liver injuries

The American Journal of Surgery
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-9610(99)80011-7
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Background: Perihepatic packing has been shown to result in pathologic intra-abdominal hypertension. Although now recognized as impairing abdominal organ perfusion, the extent to which perihepatic packing affects cardiopulmonary function has not been elucidated. Methods: We analyzed a 3-year experience with 11 patients who sustained major hepatic injuries requiring perihepatic packing to control hemorrhage. Pertinent hemodynamic indices consisting of pulmonary capiliary wedge pressure (PCWP), cardiac index (Cl), oxygen delivery index (DO 2), and systemic vascular resistance (SVR), and pulmonary indices consisting of peak airway pressure (PAP), mean airway pressure (MAP), static compliance (C ST), and PaO 2 FiO 2 were measured in the surgical intensive care unit immediately before and after packs were removed. Results: Unpacking resulted in a significant increase in Cl (3.1 ± 0.4 to 4.2 ± 0.6 L/min/m 2), DO 2 (539 ± 41 to 689 ± 43 mL min/m 2), C ST (26 ± 6 to 36 ± 4 mL/cm H 2O), and PaO 2 FiO 2 (162 ± 44 to 237 ± 53 cm H 2O), as well as a significant decrease in PAP (47 ± 9 to 29 ± 6 cm H 2O), MAP (34 ± 4 to 27 ± 3 cm H 2O), PCWP (21 ± 4 to 13 ± 3 mm Hg), and SVR (1,239 ± 162 to 887 ± 130 dyne/cm −5). Conclusions: Abdominal compartment syndrome following temporary perihepatic packing can result in significant cardiopulmonary compromise. While perihepatic packing can be an early life-saving procedure, timely alleviation of the secondary syndrome may be critical to the ultimate salvage of patients with marginal cardiopulmonary reserve.

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