Blunt Splenic Injuries: High Nonoperative Management Rate Can Be Achieved with Selective Embolization

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Abstract

Background:

This retrospective review tests the hypothesis that including selective splenic arteriography and embolization in the algorithm of a previously existing nonoperative management (NOM) strategy will result in higher rates of successful NOM in patients with blunt splenic injury.

Methods:

All patients with blunt splenic injuries documented by computed tomographic scan and/or operative findings over a 24-month period at a Level I trauma center were reviewed. A previously published series from this institution of 251 patients with splenic injury (Group 1) was then compared with the patients that constitute this current review (Group 2). Group 2 was then compared with patients described in a previous publication advocating nonselective arteriography in blunt splenic injuries.

Results:

Thirteen patients with blunt splenic injury in Group 2 underwent 14 splenic embolization procedures, with 12 (93%) being successfully treated without operation. Group 2 had a significantly higher NOM rate (82% vs. 65%, p < 0.01) than Group 1. These results are similar to the series published by Sclafani et al. (82.1% vs. 83.1%) in which every patient with splenic injury that was managed non-operatively underwent arteriography with or without embolization.

Conclusion:

A high rate of NOM can be achieved with observation and selective use of arteriography with or without embolization in the management of blunt splenic injuries.

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