Outcomes Following Blunt Traumatic Splenic Injury Treated with Conservative or Operative Management
Laparotomy, embolization, and observation are described for blunt splenic injury management. This study evaluated outcomes of blunt splenic injury management based on baseline factors, splenic injury severity, and associated injuries.
A nine-year retrospective review was conducted of adult patients with blunt splenic injury. Collected data included demographics, injury characteristics, treatment modality, complications, and outcomes (mechanical ventilation, days on mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit [ICU] admission and length of stay, hospital length of stay, and in-hospital mortality). Categorical and continuous variables were analyzed using χ2 analysis and one-way analysis of variance for normally distributed variables and a non-parametric test of medians for variables that did not meet the assumption of normality, respectively.
Splenic injury grade was similar between operative and embolization groups, but severe hemoperitoneum was more common in the operative group. Complications and mortality were highest in the operative group (50.7% and 26.3%, respectively) and lowest in the embolization group (5.3% and 2.6%, respectively). Operative patients required more advanced interventions (ICU admission, mechanical ventilation). There were no differences between those treated with proximal versus distal embolization. Observation carried a failure rate of 11.2%, with no failures of embolization.
Embolization patients had the lowest rates of complications and mortality, with comparable splenic injury grades to those treated operatively. Further prospective research is warranted to identify patients that may benefit from early embolization and avoidance of major abdominal surgery.
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