Nonsurgical management of blunt splenic injury: use of CT criteria to select patients for splenic arteriography and potential endovascular therapy

Radiology. 2000 Oct;217(1):75-82. doi: 10.1148/radiology.217.1.r00oc0875.


Purpose: To determine if contrast material-enhanced spiral computed tomography (CT) can be used to select patients with blunt splenic injuries to undergo arteriographic embolization.

Materials and methods: During a 15-month period, 78 patients who were hemodynamically stable and required no immediate surgery underwent contrast-enhanced spiral CT followed by splenic arteriography. CT scans were assessed for splenic vascular contrast material extravasation or posttraumatic splenic vascular lesions. Medical records were reviewed for splenic arteriographic results and clinical outcome.

Results: There were 25 grade I, 12 grade II, 27 grade III, 12 grade IV, and two grade V splenic injuries. CT showed active contrast material extravasation in seven patients and splenic vascular lesions in 19 patients. At CT, splenic vascular contrast material extravasation was 100% (seven of seven patients) and a posttraumatic splenic vascular lesion was 83% (10 of 12 patients) sensitive on the basis of arteriographic or surgical outcome in predicting the need for transcatheter embolization or splenic surgery. Overall, CT had a sensitivity of 81% (17 of 21 patients), a specificity of 84% (48 of 57 patients), negative and positive predictive values of 92% (48 of 52 patients) and 65% (17 of 26 patients), respectively, and an accuracy of 83% (65 of 78 patients) in predicting the need for splenic injury treatment.

Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced spiral CT plays a valuable role in selecting hemodynamically stable patients with splenic vascular injury who may be treated with transcatheter therapy and potentially improves the success rate of nonsurgical management.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiography
  • Contrast Media
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spleen / blood supply
  • Spleen / diagnostic imaging
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy


  • Contrast Media