Follow-Up Abdominal Computed Tomography after Splenic Trauma in Children May Not Be Necessary

Rovin, Joshua D.; Burns, R. Cartland; Rodgers, Bradley M.; Mcgahren, Eugene D.; Alford, Bennett A.; Mcilhenny, Joan
February 2001
American Surgeon;Feb2001, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p127
Academic Journal
Nonoperative management of splenic injuries in children is well accepted. However, the need for follow-up abdominal CT to document splenic healing has not been well studied. We retrospectively reviewed initial and follow-up abdominal CT examinations of pediatric patients admitted to our institution with documented splenic trauma who were managed nonoperatively. Eighty-four patients were admitted to our pediatric surgical service with splenic injury documented by CT from 1994 through 1998. The standard approach for splenic injury was bedrest for 5 to 21 days and limited activity for up to 90 days at the discretion of the attending surgeon. Thirty-five of the 84 had follow-up CTs during outpatient follow-up to evaluate and document splenic healing by CT criteria. The initial and follow-up studies were randomized and read blindly by pediatric radiologists using a modified American Association for the Surgery of Trauma grading system (I-V). The age range of the patients was 6 months to 17 years (mean +/- SE; 11 +/- 1 years). Nineteen (54%) were male and 16 (46%) were female. Causes of splenic trauma included motor vehicle accident (22), fall (seven), assault (four), pedestrian versus vehicle (one), and sports injury (one). Eight children (23%) had grade II injuries, 14 (40%) had grade III injuries, and 13 children (37%) had grade IV injuries on initial CT scan. Seven (88%) of the grade II splenic injuries were healed by 64 +/- 11 days. The remaining grade II injury had healed by 210 days. Thirteen (93%) of the grade III splenic injuries were healed by 76 +/- 7 days. The remaining grade III injury was healed by 140 days. Spleens in 10 (77%) of the 13 patients with grade IV injuries were healed by 81 +/- 8 days. Of the three remaining grade IV injuries two were healed by 173 +/- 14 days. The remaining patient's spleen was radiologically considered to have a grade III defect 91 days from the time of injury, and no further CTs were obtained. Of the 34 patients wh...


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