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

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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.


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.


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.


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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