Evaluating the role of liver enzymes as predictors of severity of liver injury in patients with blunt abdominal trauma

Preetha Prasad, Abhijith Acharya, Gopi Ellikunnel Vithon, Girish N. M. Kumar


Background: Liver is the 2nd most common organ affected in patients with blunt abdominal trauma (BAT). Computed tomography (CT) is the gold standard in the initial evaluation of the hemodynamically stable patient with suspected liver trauma. However, a challenge exists in centers devoid of CT scan, where an elevation in hepatic transaminases may provide guidance for the emergency physician in seeking further imaging and/or surgical consultation.

Methods: In patients with suspected BAT blood samples were taken for estimation of liver enzymes (AST and ALT). All patients underwent contrast enhanced CT of the abdomen. Hemodynamically unstable patients were taken up for laparotomy and the findings were recorded. Based on imaging / surgery patients were subdivided into 2 groups (with and without liver injury). Liver injuries were graded according to organ injury scale by American Association of Surgery for Trauma.

Results: ALT>100 units had 100% sensitivity and specificity improved to 83.78%. The mean level of ALT in patients without liver injury was around 64. This increased to 142 in grade 1 and upto 780 units in grade 4 injury. The same rising trend was seen when AST was evaluated against grade of Liver injury. This was statistically significant (p<0.01).

Conclusions: ALT is the better of the transaminases in predicting liver injury. The rise in transaminases is directly proportional to grade of liver injury.


BAT, Liver enzymes

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