The liver is located in the upper right corner of the abdomen. It weighs about three pounds in an adult.
The liver has many functions:
An injured liver results in hemorrhaging (bleeding). The signs and symptoms of an injured liver include abdominal pain, guarding (holding hand over the area), tenderness in the upper right part of the abdomen, right shoulder pain and signs of shock and blood loss. This can be a major life-threatening event. Diagnosis is made by CT scan.
The pediatric surgery team will be watching your child’s lab results carefully to determine if the laceration continues to bleed. The lab results that will be most important will be your child’s hemoglobin (main component of blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body) and hematocrit (the percentage of red blood cells in the blood). The results of this blood test should be expected to drop within the first 24 hours and then begin to resolve.
Your child will be on complete bedrest for 24-48 hours with the hemoglobin and hematocrit tested every 6 to 12 hours. When your child leaves the hospital he/she must not participate in physical activity for a period of six weeks to three months. A follow-up visit to the pediatric surgery clinic will be scheduled for one week following discharge with the hemoglobin and hematocrit drawn again to check for resolution of the bleeding. The pediatric surgery team will be happy to answer any further questions that you may have.
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