Prospective Evaluation of Criteria for the Nonoperative Management of Blunt Splenic Trauma

Meguid, Ahmed A.; Bair, Holly A.; Howells, Greg A.; Bendick, Phillip J.; Kerr, Hugh H.; Villalba, Mario R.
March 2003
American Surgeon;Mar2003, Vol. 69 Issue 3, p238
Academic Journal
Recent reports have shown an increased mortality associated with the nonoperative management of blunt splenic injury. We have prospectively applied criteria developed from our previous 15-year experience for the nonoperative management (NOM) of blunt splenic injury. These criteria consist of 1) hemodynamic stability on admission or after initial resuscitation with up to two liters of crystalloid infusion, 2) no physical findings or any associated injuries necessitating laparotomy, and 3) a transfusion requirement attributable to the splenic injury of 2 units or less. From 1994 through 2000 a total of 99 patients presented with blunt splenic injury. Thirty-one patients (31%) underwent splenectomy secondary to hemodynamic instability. During the observation period eight of the 68 patients (12%) who initially met criteria for NOM developed hemodynamic instability and underwent splenectomy. All NOM failures occurred within 72 hours of admission. There was no mortality associated with splenic injury in the NOM (Group I) or in the group failing NOM (Group II), and no associated morbidities from the splenic injury were seen in either group. No significant differences were seen between Groups I and II in terms of age, gender, mechanism of injury, Injury Severity Score, admitting systolic blood pressure, admitting hemoglobin, transfusion requirements, intensive care unit length of stay, or total hospital length of stay (all P > 0.200). We conclude that established criteria for intervention and careful observation in an intensive care setting for at least 72 hours will minimize morbidity or mortality associated with blunt splenic injury in adults.


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