Emergency Laparoscopic Splenectomy for Splenic Trauma in a Jehovah's Witness Patient

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The safety and efficacy of laparoscopic splenectomy in the management of benign hematologic diseases is well established. However, most consider the laparoscopic approach to splenectomy in trauma patients contraindicated. We present a 76-year-old Jehovah's Witness who sustained a blunt abdominal trauma, rib fractures, and grade III splenic injury. She continued to lose blood, albeit slowly, for which she underwent preemptive urgent laparoscopic splenectomy with the use of the red cell saver. The operating time was 65 minutes. She was discharged on the 16th postoperative day after recovering from fractured ribs with subsequent pulmonary atelectasis and basal pneumonia. Whereas the majority of grade I to III splenic injuries in adults can be managed conservatively, some 20% will fail and require emergency splenectomy for delayed rupture of the spleen. In a Jehovah's Witness patient, early splenectomy for injury with the use of red cell saver is advised. This may be accomplished laparoscopically in the hemodynamically noncompromised patient.

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