Options for managing splenic injuries have evolved with a focus on nonoperative management. Long-term outcomes, such as readmissions and delayed splenectomy rate, are not well understood.Objective
To describe the natural history of isolated splenic injuries in the United States and determine whether patterns of readmission were influenced by management strategy.Design, Setting, and Participants
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s Nationwide Readmission Database is an all-payer, all-ages, longitudinal administrative database that provides data on more than 35 million weighted US discharges yearly. The database was used to identify patients with isolated splenic injuries and the procedures that they received. Adult patients with isolated splenic injuries admitted from January 1 through June 30, 2013, and from January 1 through June 30, 2014, were included. Those who died during the index hospitalization or who had an additional nonsplenic injury with an Abbreviated Injury Score of 2 or greater were excluded. Univariate and mixed-effects logistic regression analysis controlling for center effect were used. Weighted numbers are reported.Exposures
Initial management strategy at the time of index hospitalization, including nonprocedural management, angioembolization, and splenectomy.Main Outcomes and Measures
All-cause 6-month readmission rate. Secondary outcome was delayed splenectomy rate.Results
A weighted sample of 3792 patients (2146 men [56.6%] and 1646 women [43.4%]; mean [SE] age, 48.5 [0.7] years) with 5155 admission events was included. During the index hospitalization, 825 (21.8%) underwent splenectomy, 293 (7.7%) underwent angioembolization, and 2673 (70.5%) had no procedure. The overall readmission rate was 21.1% (799 patients). Readmission rates did not differ based on initial management strategy (195 patients undergoing splenectomy [23.6%], 70 undergoing angioembolism [23.9%], and 534 undergoing no procedure [20%]; P = .33). Splenectomy was performed in 36 of 799 readmitted patients (4.5%) who did not have a splenectomy at their index hospitalization, leading to an overall delayed splenectomy rate of 1.2% (36 of 2967 patients). In mixed-effects logistic regression analysis controlling for patient, injury, clinical, and hospital characteristics, the choice of splenectomy (odds ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.66-1.31) vs angioembolization (odds ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.72-1.97) as initial management strategy was not associated with readmission.Conclusions and Relevance
This national evaluation of the natural history of isolated splenic injuries from index admission through 6 months found that approximately 1 in 5 patients are readmitted within 6 months of discharge after an isolated splenic injury. However, the chance of readmission for splenectomy after initial nonoperative management was 1.2%. This finding suggests that the current management strategies used for isolated splenic injuries in the United States are well matched to patient need.