Background: Delayed splenic hemorrhage after nonoperative management (NOM) of blunt splenic injury (BSI) is a feared complication, particularly in the outpatient setting. Significant resources, including angiography (ANGIO), are used in an effort to prevent delayed splenectomy (DS). No prospective, long-term data exist to determine the actual risk of splenectomy. The purposes of this trial were to ascertain the 180-day risk of splenectomy after 24 hours of NOM of BSI and to determine factors related to splenectomy.
Methods: Eleven Level I trauma centers participated in this prospective observational study. Adult patients achieving 24 hours of NOM of their BSI were eligible. Patients were followed up for 180 days. Demographic, physiologic, radiographic, injury-related information, and spleen-related interventions were recorded. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were used to determine factors associated with DS.
Results: A total of 383 patients were enrolled. Twelve patients (3.1%) underwent in-hospital splenectomy between 24 hours and 9 days after injury. Of 366 discharged with a spleen, 1 (0.27%) required readmission for DS on postinjury Day 12. No Grade I injuries experienced DS. The splenectomy rate after 24 hours of NOM was 1.5 per 1,000 patient-days. Only extravasation from the spleen at time of admission (ADMIT-BLUSH) was associated with splenectomy (odds ratio, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-12.4). Of patients with ADMIT-BLUSH (n = 49), 17 (34.7%) did not have ANGIO with embolization (EMBO), and 2 of those (11.8%) underwent splenectomy; 32 (65.3%) underwent ANGIO with EMBO, and 2 of those (6.3%, p = 0.6020 compared with no ANGIO with EMBO) required splenectomy.
Conclusion: Splenectomy after 24 hours of NOM is rare. After the initial 24 hours, no additional interventions are warranted for patients with Grade I injuries. For Grades II to V, close observation as an inpatient or outpatient is indicated for 10 days to 14 days. ADMIT-BLUSH is a strong predictor of DS and should lead to close observation or earlier surgical intervention.
Level of evidence: Prognostic/epidemiological study, level III; therapeutic study, level IV.