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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 158-160

Predictors of nephrectomy in high grade blunt renal trauma patients treated primarily with conservative intent

Department of Urology, Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication29-Mar-2014

Correspondence Address:
Narla Hari Prasad
Flat No.: 403, Rajitha Enclave, Sangeeth Nagar, Kukatpally, Hyderabad - 500 072, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.126896

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Introduction: There is no consensus on the optimal management of high grade renal trauma. Delayed surgery increases the likelihood of secondary hemorrhage and persistent urinary extravasation, whereas immediate surgery results in high renal loss. Hence, the present study was undertaken to evaluate the predictors of nephrectomy and outcome of high Grade (III-V) renal injury, treated primarily with conservative intent.
Materials and Methods: The records of 55 patients who were admitted to our institute with varying degrees of blunt renal trauma from January 2005 to December 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Grade III-V renal injury was defined as high grade blunt renal trauma and was present in 44 patients. The factors analyzed to predict emergency intervention were demographic profile, grade of injury, degree of hemodynamic instability, requirement of blood transfusion, need for intervention, mode of intervention, and duration of intensive care unit stay.
Results: Rest of the 40 patients with high grade injury (grade 3 and 4 )did not require emergency intervention and underwent a trail of conservative management. 7 of the 40 patients with high grade renal injury (grade 3 and 4), who were managed conservatively experienced complications requiring procedural intervention and three required a delayed nephrectomy. Presence of grade V injuries with hemodynamic instability and requirement of more than 10 packed cell units for resuscitation were predictors of nephrectomy. Predictors of complications were urinary extravasation and hemodynamic instability at presentation.
Conclusion: Majority of the high grade renal injuries can be successfully managed conservatively. Grade V injuries and the need for more packed cell transfusions during resuscitation predict the need for emergency intervention.

Keywords: Blunt renal trauma, conservative intent, emergency nephrectomy

How to cite this article:
Prasad NH, Devraj R, Chandriah G R, Sagar S V, Reddy C, Murthy PL. Predictors of nephrectomy in high grade blunt renal trauma patients treated primarily with conservative intent. Indian J Urol 2014;30:158-60

How to cite this URL:
Prasad NH, Devraj R, Chandriah G R, Sagar S V, Reddy C, Murthy PL. Predictors of nephrectomy in high grade blunt renal trauma patients treated primarily with conservative intent. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Jun 30];30:158-60. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Blunt trauma is the most common cause of renal injury with road traffic accident as the mechanism of injury in the majority of cases. The management of renal trauma has become increasingly conservative with multiple series showing renal preservation after high grade injury. [1],[2] Indications for exploring high grade renal blunt injury remains controversial. [3] In the present study, we evaluated the clinical features and outcome of patients who presented with high grade III-V renal trauma to our institute. The goals were to further refine the absolute indications for exploration and determine the outcomes of conservative management.

   Materials and Methods Top


We retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients with blunt renal injury who presented from January 2005 to December 2012. Patient data was obtained from our medical records department and the data retrieved was complete. Of the total 55 blunt renal injury patients, we identified 44 consecutive patients with high grade injury (grade III-V). Grade was assigned based on contrast enhanced computed tomography imaging after stabilizing the patient according to the American association for the surgery of trauma kidney injury scale proposed in 1989. [4]


Regardless of injury grade, all patients who were hemodynamically stable after resuscitation were considered candidates for conservative management. Patients who had ongoing hemodynamic instability despite blood transfusion and resuscitation, who had expanding hematoma and who had a pulsatile retroperitoneal hematoma were considered for immediate exploratory laparotomy. Conservative management consisted of bed rest, analgesia, hydration and broad spectrum antibiotics in the presence of urinoma. Patients treated conservatively were followed-up with continuous hemodynamic monitoring, serial hematocrit determination and abdominal girth measurement. Routine reimaging after 48 h was not obtained in all patients. The indications for repeat imaging were urinary leak (grade IV injuries) and ongoing hemorrhage. Strict bed rest was advised until the gross hematuria resolved and patients were discharged after 3-4 days of ambulation and uneventful hospital stay.

Statistical analysis

All statistical analyses were performed by online statistical tool and a P < 0.05 was considered to be significant. The continuous variables were presented as mean ± standard deviation or median and interquartile range, as appropriate. The categorical data were presented as numbers and percentages. Differences between categorical variables were analyzed using the Fisher exact test (two tailed).

   Results Top

Of the 55 patients, 44 (80%) were male, 11 (20%) were female. High velocity automobile and motor vehicle accidents were responsible for 45 of the 55 injuries (81.8%) and the remaining 10 (18.1%) were due to fall from height and assault injuries. At presentation, 35 (64%) patients had hypotension (i.e., systolic blood pressure ≤90 mm of Hg). All these 35 patients had high grade renal injury and 7 underwent nephrectomy (4 immediate; 3 delayed).

Of the 55 patients, grade III injuries occurred in 22 (40%), grade IV in 18 (32.7%) and grade V in 4 patients (7.2%). Macroscopic hematuria was seen in 38 patients (71%), microscopic hematuria in 11 (22%) and only 6 patients had no evidence of hematuria. In 15 of 55 patients (27.4%), renal injury was the only intra-abdominal injury. In 19 patients, another major abdominal organ was injured. Liver laceration was seen in 10 (18.1%), splenic injury in 6 patients (10.9%), injury to the duodenum and pancreas in 2 patients (3.6%) and bowel injury in 1 patient (1.8%). Rest of the patients had injuries such as rib fractures, pneumothorax, upper and lower limb fractures, head injury and pelvic fractures.

   Emergency Intervention Top

Of the 55 patients, 4 patients (7.2%) required emergency nephrectomy. All of them had grade V injuries [Figure 1]. The patients who needed intervention required more blood transfusion for resuscitation as measured by packed red blood cell units. Out of the 8 patients who required more than 10 units, 6 underwent nephrectomy (4 immediate, 2 delayed), whereas only 1 out of 47 patients who required less than 10 units had delayed nephrectomy (P = 0.0001). Tachycardia, hemoglobin at admission and degree of hematuria were not significant predictors for emergency intervention. In our study, 19 patients had other associated intra-abdominal injuries. In the 4 patients requiring emergency nephrectomy, all of them had associated abdominal injuries - two of them had liver laceration and two had splenic rupture for which splenectomy was done.
Figure 1: Number of patients who required intervention grade wise

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Conservative management outcome

Of the 44 high grade injury patients 40 required no emergency intervention and underwent a trail of conservative management. In 7 of these 40 patients (all grade IV), complications required procedural intervention - 2 patients for extravasation and 5 patients for secondary hemorrhage [Figure 1]. Extravasation of urine required retrograde insertion of a ureteral stent with percutaneous urinoma drainage. Among patients with secondary hemorrhage, 3 underwent nephrectomy, 1 underwent successful embolization for pseudo aneurysm and 1 underwent renorrhaphy [Figure 2]. Mean time from injury to complications was 14 days. Patients with complications were significantly older and hemodynamically unstable at presentation requiring more packed cell units for resuscitation. In patients with renal trauma with conservative intent who were explored for other intra-abdominal surgery, none of the patients required nephrectomy as there was no expanding or pulsatile retroperitoneal hematoma.
Figure 2: The mode of intervention according to grade wise

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   Discussion Top

Renal injuries occur in 1.4% to 3.5% of trauma patients. [3] The vast majority of renal injuries result from blunt mechanisms like motor vehicle crashes and falls [3] . Most renal injuries are minor. Significant renal injuries including laceration and vascular injuries account for 4-25% of blunt injuries. In our study, the proportion of patients with high grade injuries is 80%, as our institute is a tertiary referral center; patients with high grade injury and hemodynamic instability are usually referred from other centers. Although management of renal contusion and minor laceration is usually straightforward, there is no consensus on optimal management of high grade injury. [3] In the absence of clear-cut indications like ongoing life threatening hemorrhage, expanding retroperitoneal hematoma and pulsatile retroperitoneal hematoma different management strategies emerge. Some groups advocate exploration based on injury grade alone, the presence of devitalized segments or presence of urinoma. [5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] The reported operative rate for blunt renal trauma is 2-10%. [11],[12] Of the operative interventions, 70% resulted in nephrectomy. Similar to other studies [11],[12],[13] an increased risk of nephrectomy was seen in our study with high American association for surgery of trauma grades and this grading was the most powerful predictor of nephrectomy. When grade III, IV renal injuries are managed expectantly, delayed renal bleeding is found in 13-25%. [14] In our study, five of the patients had secondary hemorrhage of which one underwent renorrhaphy, one angioembolization, and three nephrectomy. Two patients required double J stenting plus percutaneous drainage for urinoma. Asssociated intraabdominal injuries was seen in 34.5% of our patients compared to 43% seen in literature. [15]

   Conclusion Top

Majority of the high grade renal injuries can be successfully managed conservatively. Grade V injuries and the need for more packed cell transfusions during resuscitation predict the need for emergency intervention.

   References Top

1.Danuser H, Wille S, Zöscher G, Studer U. How to treat blunt kidney ruptures: Primary open surgery or conservative treatment with deferred surgery when necessary? Eur Urol 2001;39:9-14.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Hammer CC, Santucci RA. Effect of an institutional policy of nonoperative treatment of grades I to IV renal injuries. J Urol 2003;169:1751-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Santucci RA, Wessells H, Bartsch G, Descotes J, Heyns CF, McAninch JW, et al. Evaluation and management of renal injuries: Consensus statement of the renal trauma subcommittee. BJU Int 2004;93:937-54.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Moore EE, Shackford SR, Pachter HL, McAninch JW, Browner BD, Champion HR, Flint LM, Gennarelli TA, Malangoni MA, Ramenofsky ML, et al . Organ injury scaling: spleen ,liver,and kidney. J Trauma 1989;29(12):1664-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Meng MV, Brandes SB, McAninch JW. Renal trauma: Indications and techniques for surgical exploration. World J Urol 1999;17:71-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.McAninch JW, Federle MP. Evaluation of renal injuries with computerized tomography. J Urol 1982;128:456-60.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Santucci RA, McAninch JW. Diagnosis and management of renal trauma: Past, present, and future. J Am Coll Surg 2000;191:443-51.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Husmann DA, Gilling PJ, Perry MO, Morris JS, Boone TB. Major renal lacerations with a devitalized fragment following blunt abdominal trauma: A comparison between nonoperative (expectant) versus surgical management. J Urol 1993;150:1774-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Husmann DA, Morris JS. Attempted nonoperative management of blunt renal lacerations extending through the corticomedullary junction: The short-term and long-term sequelae. J Urol 1990;143:682-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Moudouni SM, Hadj Slimen M, Manunta A, Patard JJ, Guiraud PH, Guille F, et al. Management of major blunt renal lacerations: Is a nonoperative approach indicated? Eur Urol 2001;40:409-14.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Wessells H, Suh D, Porter JR, Rivara F, MacKenzie EJ, Jurkovich GJ, et al. Renal injury and operative management in the United States: Results of a population-based study. J Trauma 2003;54:423-30.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Kuo RL, Eachempati SR, Makhuli MJ, Reed RL 2 nd . Factors affecting management and outcome in blunt renal injury. World J Surg 2002;26:416-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Santucci RA, McAninch JM. Grade IV renal injuries: Evaluation, treatment, and outcome. World J Surg 2001;25:1565-72.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Teigen CL, Venbrux AC, Quinlan DM, Jeffs RD. Late massive hematuria as a complication of conservative management of blunt renal trauma in children. J Urol 1992;147:1333-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Aragona F, Pepe P, Patanè D, Malfa P, D'Arrigo L, Pennisi M. Management of severe blunt renal trauma in adult patients: A 10-year retrospective review from an emergency hospital. BJU Int 2012;110:744-8.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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