n South African Journal of Surgery - Renal trauma in a trauma intensive care unit population - trauma

Volume 57 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Background: For the majority of renal injuries, non-operative management is the standard of care with nephrectomy reserved for those with severe trauma. This study in a dedicated Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU) population aimed to assess the outcomes of renal injuries and identify factors that predict the need for nephrectomy,

Methods: Patients, older than 18 years, admitted to TICU from January 2007 to December 2014 who sustained renal injuries had data extracted from the prospectively collected Class Approved Trauma Registry (BCA207-09). Patients who underwent surgical intervention for the renal injury or received non-operative management were compared. The key variables analysed were: patient demographics, mechanism of injury, grade of renal injury, presenting haemoglobin, initial systolic blood pressure, Injury Severity Score and Renal Injury AAST Grade on CT scan in patients who did not necessarily require immediate surgery, or at surgery in those patients who needed emergency laparotomy.

Results: There were 74 confirmed renal injuries. There were 42 low grade injuries (grade I-III) and 32 high grade injuries (5 grade IV and 27 grade V). Twenty-six (35%) had a nephrectomy: 24 with grade V injuries and 2 with grade IV injuries required nephrectomy. Six patients in the high injury grade arm had non-operative management. A low haemoglobin, low systolic blood pressure, higher injury severity score, and a high-grade renal injury, as well as increasing age were positive predictors for nephrectomy in trauma patients with renal injury.

Conclusion: Non-operative management is a viable option with favourable survival rates in lower grade injury; however, complications should be anticipated and managed accordingly. High grade injuries predict the need for surgery.

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