We reviewed the management and clinical course of 21 patients with extrahepatic injuries to the portal triad seen over the past 11 years at a Level I trauma center. These represented only 0.21% of patients with multiple trauma admitted during this time. Portal triad injury was never specifically diagnosed preoperatively. Extrahepatic bile duct injury occurred in 4 patients, portal vein injury in 14, and hepatic artery injury in 7; 3 patients had combined injuries. Eleven patients (52%) died, all due to uncontrolled hemorrhage from either an injured portal vein or associated intra-abdominal injuries. Management of the bile duct injuries included drainage alone, bile duct ligation, and Roux-Y hepaticojejunostomy. Survivors of portal vein injury were managed with lateral venorrhaphy. Ligation of the hepatic artery appeared to be optimal for injuries incurred by this vessel. Complications necessitating reoperation or percutaneous drainage procedures were encountered in 8 of 10 surviving patients (80%). Injuries to the portal triad are uncommon, difficult to diagnose, and technically challenging. Mortality is most directly related to uncontrolled intraabdominal hemorrhage, and salvage requires rapid control of bleeding as the first treatment priority.
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