Long-term effect of trauma splenectomy on blood glucose

J Surg Res. 2012 Sep;177(1):152-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2012.03.068. Epub 2012 Apr 16.


Background: Increasing evidence suggests that the spleen harbors stem cells that act as precursors to insulin-producing pancreas cells. Additionally, small studies with short-term follow-up associate splenectomy with increased rates of diabetes mellitus. The purpose of this study was to analyze the long-term effect of trauma splenectomy on blood glucose.

Materials and methods: Patients were included if a blood glucose level was measured more than 5 y after trauma splenectomy or laparotomy with bowel repair. Mean blood glucose level was then compared between the two groups.

Results: During the 10-y study period 61 patients underwent trauma splenectomy and 50 survived until discharge. In comparison, 229 patients underwent trauma laparotomy and bowel repair and 207 survived until discharge. Nine splenectomy patients compared with 12 control patients had, blood glucose measured at least 5 y after initial trauma. Mean follow-up period was not significantly different between groups (splenectomy 82.8 ± 17.6 mo versus control 96.0 ± 44.3 mo, P = 0.41). In the splenectomy cohort mean glucose level was significantly higher compared with the control (114 ± 34 mg/dL versus 90 ± 13 mg/dL, P = 0.04), as was the number of patients with recorded blood glucose level greater than 130 mg/dL (4 patient versus 0 patients P = 0.02). One new diagnosis of diabetes mellitus was noted only in the trauma splenectomy cohort.

Conclusions: This small study suggests that trauma splenectomy may be associated with hyperglycemia at long-term follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Splenectomy / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose