Despite its relatively protected position, the liver is the most frequently injured solid intra-abdominal organ.
Most liver injuries can be managed conservatively, but about 5% to 10% require urgent laparotomy, usually when the mechanism of injury involves a vehicle accident and hemodynamic instability persists, in spite of 40 mL/kg of blood transfusion.
In particular, grades IV and V liver injuries may pose a challenge to the surgeon trying to control hemorrhage, the leading cause of mortality.
Traumatic injuries to the portal vein are rare but devastating. The mortality rate for portal vein injury ranges from 50% to 70%. A recent study of portal triad injuries has highighted the higher mortality rates associated with combination injuries involving multiple portal triad components, especially those that include portal vein injury.
This case study describes a unique case of relatively minor trauma in a child resulting in portal triad injury, sudden demise, and surgical repair.