Forty-eight adult patients with isolated splenic trauma from blunt injury were analyzed during a six year period (1980 to 1986). Early laparotomy was performed upon 38 patients and splenic preservation was accomplished in 18. The remaining ten patients who were hemodynamically stable were managed nonoperatively with close monitoring. Splenic injuries were confirmed by one of the imaging methods, such as computed tomography, radionuclide scan or ultrasound. One patient with known hepatic cirrhosis underwent embolization of the splenic artery and recovered. Nonoperative treatment failed in seven of the remaining nine patients, mandating an exploratory laparotomy between the third and tenth day of admission. In six of the seven patients, splenic preservation was unsuccessful, necessitating a splenectomy. The length of hospital stay was longer for this latter group (a mean of 15.8 days) than for patients who had splenorrhaphy (a mean of 7.5 days), or splenectomy (a mean of 8.7 days, p less than 0.001). Patients managed nonoperatively required more units of blood compared with those undergoing splenorrhaphy (4.1 units versus 1.7 units, p less than 0.01). A review of the literature reveals that splenic preservation is possible in less than 25 per cent of the patients who fail to respond to nonoperative management. We conclude that splenic injuries after blunt trauma in adults are treated best by early laparotomy in order to achieve maximal splenic preservation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988M333100010
View details for PubMedID 3344454