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High-grade renal injuries are often isolated in sports-related trauma.

  • Author(s): Patel, Darshan P
  • Redshaw, Jeffrey D
  • Breyer, Benjamin N
  • Smith, Thomas G
  • Erickson, Bradley A
  • Majercik, Sarah D
  • Gaither, Thomas W
  • Craig, James R
  • Gardner, Scott
  • Presson, Angela P
  • Zhang, Chong
  • Hotaling, James M
  • Brant, William O
  • Myers, Jeremy B
  • et al.


Most high-grade renal injuries (American Association for Surgery of Trauma (AAST) grades III-V) result from motor vehicle collisions associated with numerous concomitant injuries. Sports-related blunt renal injury tends to have a different mechanism, a solitary blow to the flank. We hypothesized that high-grade renal injury is often isolated in sports-related renal trauma.

Material and methods

We identified patients with AAST grades III-V blunt renal injuries from four level 1 trauma centres across the United States between 1/2005 and 1/2014. Patients were divided into "Sport" or "Non-sport" related groups. Outcomes included rates of hypotension (systolic blood pressure <90mm Hg), tachycardia (>110bpm), concomitant abdominal injury, and procedural/surgical intervention between sports and non-sports related injury.


320 patients met study criteria. 18% (59) were sports-related injuries with the most common mechanisms being skiing, snowboarding and contact sports (25%, 25%, and 24%, respectively). Median age was 24 years for sports and 30 years for non-sports related renal injuries (p=0.049). Males were more commonly involved in sports related injuries (85% vs. 72%, p=0.011). Median injury severity score was lower for sports related injuries (10 vs. 27, p<0.001). There was no difference in renal abbreviated injury scale scores. Sports related trauma was more likely to be isolated without other significant injury (69% vs. 39% (p<0.001)). Haemodynamic instability was present in 40% and 51% of sports and non-sports renal injuries (p=0.30). Sports injuries had lower transfusion (7% vs. 47%, p<0.001) and lower mortality rates (0% vs. 6%, p=0.004). There was no difference in renal-specific procedural interventions between the two groups (17% sports vs. 18% non-sports, p=0.95).


High-grade sports-related blunt renal trauma is more likely to occur in isolation without other abdominal or thoracic injuries and clinicians must have a high suspicion of renal injury with significant blows to the flank during sports activities.

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