Early selective angioembolization improves success of nonoperative management of blunt splenic injury

Am Surg. 2007 Sep;73(9):897-902.


The role of angioembolization in the management of patients with blunt spleen injury is still under debate. Our study examined the impact of splenic artery embolization (SAE) on the outcome of such patients. We reviewed 114 consecutive blunt abdominal trauma patients with isolated splenic injury over a period of 40 months, including 61 patients seen before (Group A) and 53 patients seen after (Group B) the adoption of SAE. Hemodynamically unstable patients underwent the abdominal exploration and stable patients were evaluated with CT scans of abdomen and pelvis. Patients underwent SAE based on the findings of CT scans, including contrast extravasation or large hemoperitoneum. For initially stable patients, there were no differences in nonoperative management success rate between Groups A and B in regards to injury severity score > or =16, age, or grades of splenic injury > or =3. In comparison, among patients with large hemoperitoneum found by abdominal CT, Group B had significantly better nonoperative management success rates (P < 0.05). SAE was successful to control bleeding in 80 per cent of patients. Partial splenic infarction was noted in all patients after the procedure but it resolved by six months. By using criteria developed based on abdominal CT scans for angioembolization, we are able to improve nonoperative splenic salvage rate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography / methods
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spleen / diagnostic imaging
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Splenic Artery
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy*