Non-operative management (NOM) of blunt abdominal trauma has become increasingly common in hemodynamically stable patients. There are known complications of NOM from undrained intra-abdominal fluid accumulations including hemorrhage and peritonitis that require delayed operation. Thus, delayed operation can be considered as part of the overall management plan, instead of failure, of NOM. The aim of this scoping review is to establish key concepts regarding delayed laparoscopic peritoneal washout (DLPW) following NOM of blunt abdominal trauma patients.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and gray literature were systematically searched. Studies were included if they investigated or reported on the use of delayed laparoscopy involving peritoneal washout following NOM of blunt abdominal trauma patients. Bibliographies of included studies were manually reviewed to identify additional articles for inclusion.
From 910 citations, 28 studies met inclusion criteria. This included seven case reports, eleven case series or observational cohort studies, six review articles, two management guidelines, one textbook chapter, and one randomized clinical trial. For those reported, medium grade liver injuries proved most common (95.2%). Indications for DLPW were primarily clinical features and changes in imaging findings, highlighting the importance of close observation. Authors reported clinical improvement after DLPW regarding symptomatology, vital signs, and biochemistry. A relatively high transfusion demand was reported with a mean of four units of packed red blood cells pre-operatively. Length of stay and post-operative complications were consistent with previously reported experiences with blunt abdominal injuries.
DLPW is beneficial in blunt abdominal trauma patients following NOM with improvement in symptoms, SIRS features, and a possible reduction in hospital length of stay. This study is limited by low-quality evidence and skewing of data toward isolated hepatic injuries. Future prospective cohort study comparing NOM with and without DLPW is required.