Factors Affecting the Outcome of Patients with Splenic Trauma

Carlin, Arthur M.; Tyburski, James G.; Wilson, Robert F.; Steffes, Christopher
March 2002
American Surgeon;Mar2002, Vol. 68 Issue 3, p232
Academic Journal
This is a report of 546 consecutive patients with penetrating and blunt splenic trauma seen over a 17 1/2-year period (1980-1997). The etiology of the splenic injuries and the associated mortality rates were: blunt injuries 45 of 298 (15%), gunshot wounds 48 of 199 (24%), and stab wounds four of 49 (8%). The overall mortality rate was 97 of 546 (18%). The most significant risk factors for death were all associated with major blood loss: transfusion requirements ≥6 units of blood, low initial operating room blood pressure, associated abdominal vascular injuries, and performance of a thoracotomy. The two most important organs injured in conjunction with the spleen that were significant predictors of postoperative infectious complications were colon and pancreas. The need for splenectomy was most significantly correlated with higher grades of splenic injury especially grades IV and V. The evolution in management of blunt splenic trauma has led to a significant improvement in splenic preservation and avoidance of laparotomy for many patients. Operative splenic salvage is reduced in patients subjected to laparotomy who are candidates for nonoperative treatment. Improved results with splenic injury should be obtained by rapid control of bleeding. This may require more liberal criterial in selecting patients with splenic trauma for early operative treatment.


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