Nonoperative Management of Neonatal Splenic Rupture

Driscoll, Karen; Benjamin, Louis C.; Gilbert, James C.; Chahine, A. Alfred
December 2004
American Surgeon;Dec2004, Vol. 70 Issue 12, p1085
Academic Journal
Neonatal injury of the spleen is an uncommon but serious condition. Although the standard management of children with splenic injury is nonoperative, there is scant evidence in the literature to support handling neonates in the same way. We report a case of neonatal splenic rupture that was managed nonoperatively. A 3.6-kg full-term female born vaginally became tachycardic and pale on the second day of life. She had a distended abdomen and a hemoglobin of 5.8 g/dL. Her blood pressure remained within normal limits. She was transfused 20 cc/ packed red blood cells. CT scan showed a grade V splenic rupture. Coagulopathy workup was negative. The assumption was that she had a ruptured spleen secondary to a traumatic delivery. She remained stable after the transfusion. It took 32 weeks for a CT scan to show complete healing. Traditionally, neonatal splenic rupture has been treated with splenectomy or splenorrhaphy. The first case of a neonate to be treated nonoperatively was reported in 2000. Our patient is only the second reported case. We chose to follow her with imaging to document healing and to rule out a tumor, as epidermoid cysts and hemangioendotheliomas can cause neonatal splenic rupture. We also review the literature to try to gain some insight into the management of this rare problem.


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