Follow-up abdominal CT is not necessary in low-grade splenic injury

Haan, James M.; Boswell, Sharon; Stein, Deborah; Scalea, Thomas M.
January 2007
American Surgeon;Jan2007, Vol. 73 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
journal article
Nonoperative management of splenic injury has become the standard of care in the hemodynamically stable patient. The time period of observation and the utility of follow-up scanning remain an area of debate. This study examined the utility of follow-up abdominal CT for detection of delayed vascular injury in patients with low-grade splenic injury. A retrospective review of all patients with low-grade splenic injuries undergoing nonoperative management from June 2000 to June 2004 was performed. Patients underwent follow-up abdominal CT 48 to 72 hours after admission to rule out delayed vascular injury and were discharged if the results were negative. Charts were reviewed for demographic data, abdominal CT results, and splenic salvage. A total of 472 patients underwent nonoperative management for splenic injury, with 140 patients treated with simple observation during this protocol. All patients were successfully managed with simple observation with no nonoperative failures; there were two instances of delayed vascular injury on follow-up CT. Both patients with progression of injury had decreasing hematocrit levels during admission prior to follow-up abdominal CT scan. Overall, the injury severity score was 22 points and the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) splenic injury severity score was 1.8 points. Length of hospital stay was 2.8 days for patients with predominately splenic injury and 10 days for the overall cohort. Follow-up abdominal CT confers no benefit in patients with low-grade splenic injury, and a stable hematocrit level and abdominal exam.


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