Splenic Abscess: An Easily Overlooked Disease?

Cheng-Cheng Tung; Feng-Chi Chen; Chong-Jeh Lo
April 2006
American Surgeon;Apr2006, Vol. 72 Issue 4, p322
Academic Journal
Splenic abscess is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening disease. Recent advances in radiology have affected the diagnosis and management of this disease entity. The purpose of this study was to review our experience in managing these patients. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 51 patients with splenic abscess as seen in a tertiary medical center between 1998 and 2003. We analyzed the demographics, clinical manifestations, etiology, predisposing factors, diagnostic modalities, bacteriologic profile, treatment, and outcome of these patients. The mean age was 59.9 ± 14.2 years (ranging from 21-89 years). The male:female ratio was 29:22. Common symptoms included fever (82%), abdominal pain (71%), and nausea and vomiting (46%). The majority of these patients (83%) had leukocytosis. Thirty-six patients had associated parenchymal liver diseases and 26 patients had diabetes mellitus. Abdominal sonogram or computed tomography was performed to establish the diagnosis. Most cultures from the abscess cavities grew gram-negative enteric bacilli. Patients were treated with antimicrobial therapy only (n = 33), additional percutaneous drainage with a pigtail catheter (n = 11), or splenectomy (n = 7), and the survival rates were 48 per cent, 45 per cent, and 100 per cent, respectively. Splenic abscess should be considered in a patient with fever, left upper abdominal pain, and leukocytosis. Splenectomy appears to have better treatment outcome than percutaneous drainage or intravenous antibiotics alone.


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