Overall Splenectomy Rates Stable Despite Increasing Usage of Angiography in the Management of High-grade Blunt Splenic Injury

Ann Surg. 2018 Jul;268(1):179-185. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002246.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to understand the contemporary trends of splenectomy in blunt splenic injury (BSI) and to determine if angiography and embolization (ANGIO) may be impacting the splenectomy rate.

Background: The approach to BSI has shifted to increasing use of nonoperative management, with a greater reliance on ANGIO. However, the impact ANGIO has on splenic salvage remains unclear with little contemporary data.

Methods: The National Trauma Data Bank was used to identify patients 18 years and older with high-grade BSI (Abbreviated Injury Scale >II) treated at Level I or II trauma centers between 2008 and 2014. Primary outcomes included yearly rates of splenectomy, which was defined as early if performed within 6 hours of ED admission and delayed if greater than 6 hours, ANGIO, and mortality. Trends were studied over time with hierarchical regression models.

Results: There were 53,689 patients who had high-grade BSI over the study period. There was no significant difference in the adjusted rate of overall splenectomy over time (24.3% in 2008, 24.3% in 2014, P value = 0.20). The use of ANGIO rapidly increased from 5.3% in 2008 to 13.5% in 2014 (P value < 0.001). Mortality was similar overtime (8.7% in 2008, 9.0% in 2014, P value = 0.33).

Conclusion: Over the last 7 years, the rate of angiography has been steadily rising while the overall rate of splenectomy has been stable. The lack of improved overall splenic salvage, despite increased ANGIO, calls into question the role of ANGIO in splenic salvage on high-grade BSI at a national level.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiography / trends*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Procedures and Techniques Utilization / trends*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Spleen / diagnostic imaging
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Splenectomy / trends*
  • United States
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy*
  • Young Adult