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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Role of Emergent Nephrectomy for Grade V Blunt Renal Injuries

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Management of emergency care

John D. Ehrhardt Jr., Adel Elkbuli, Mark McKenney, Dessy Boneva

USA Department of Surgery, Kendall Regional Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e932357

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.932357

Available online: 2021-06-22

Published: 2021-08-03


BACKGROUND: Blunt renal injuries constitute a small proportion of solid organ trauma cases. Many American Association for the Surgery of Trauma grade IV and V lacerations are manageable with volume resuscitation and angioembolization. In select cases, emergent nephrectomy can be beneficial to patients, with little associated morbidity.
CASE REPORT: In 2 separate cases, an 18-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were brought to our center after sustaining blunt trauma to the left flank. They were both found to have isolated grade V renal lacerations with vascular compromise. Both initially had normal vital signs but became unstable. Active extravasation was visible on contrast-enhanced computed tomography scans, and the patients ultimately underwent exploratory laparotomy and nephrectomy on hospital day 1. Both of them recovered quickly, had no acute complications, and were discharged in <1 week. Follow-up over the course of 1 year showed no untoward sequelae.
CONCLUSIONS: These cases highlight the role of nephrectomy to mitigate life-threatening hemorrhage in unstable patients. While observation or angioembolization is the preferred approach for many renal injuries, emergent nephrectomy remains important for patients who do not respond to blood products and have rapidly deteriorating shock. In these patients, results of an initial trauma evaluation can be unclear because of concomitant splenic injury, as well as renal injuries with hemoperitoneum that are visible on focused abdominal ultrasonography for trauma. When forgoing immediate laparotomy, surgeons can use continuous noninvasive hemoglobin monitoring along with serial hemoglobin measurements and abdominal examinations. Laparotomy with nephrectomy results in limited morbidity when it is done expeditiously with ongoing volume resuscitation.

Keywords: Abdominal Injuries, Lacerations, Nephrectomy