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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2019 May;86(5):896-901. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000002186.

Extrahepatic bile duct injury in blunt trauma: A systematic review.

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From the Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Unit (R.P., T.V., K.S.), The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD; and The Whiteley-Martin Research Unit, Discipline of Surgery (R.P.), University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.



Extrahepatic bile duct injuries (EHBDIs) are a rare consequence of blunt abdominal trauma. The purpose of this study was to establish mechanisms of injury, clinical indicators of EHBDI following blunt trauma (both with investigative modalities and intraoperatively), method and timing of injury detection, and definitive treatment options.


A systematic review was performed to gather data on patients with an EHBDI secondary to blunt trauma. Three databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, and EMBASE) were searched to July 19, 2018.


Our systematic review included 51 studies, compromising a study population of 66 patients with EHBDIs sustained from blunt trauma. The three most common injuries included complete transection of the suprapancreatic common bile duct (29%, n = 19), complete transection of the intrapancreatic common bile duct (23%, n = 15) and partial laceration of the left hepatic duct (20%, n = 13). Of the hemodynamically stable group managed nonoperatively (n = 23), mean timing postinjury to diagnosis of EHBDI was 11 days. An EHBDI was recognized at initial laparotomy in 87% (n = 13) of hemodynamically stable patients. An EHBDI was recognized at initial laparotomy in 57% (n = 8) of hemodynamically unstable patients.


The EHBDIs are a rare yet serious consequence of blunt trauma. To establish a timely diagnosis and limit complications of missed injuries, a heightened awareness is required by the attending surgeon with particular attention to subtle yet important clinical indicators. These vary depending on the hemodynamic stability of the patient and decision to manage injuries conservatively or surgically on presentation.


Systematic review, level III.

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