Long-term sustainability of Washington State's quality improvement initiative for the management of pediatric spleen injuries

J Pediatr Surg. 2018 Nov;53(11):2209-2213. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 12.


Background: Initial results of Washington State's quality improvement initiative addressing the management of blunt traumatic pediatric spleen injuries were published in 2008. In this update, we evaluated whether these effects were sustained over time.

Methods: Data from the Washington Trauma Registry for years 1999-2001 (pre-intervention), 2003-2005 (post-intervention), and 2012-2014 (follow-up) were used in a retrospective cohort study. Children between ages 0 to 14 years who were hospitalized with a traumatic blunt spleen injury were included. Multivariable logistic regression was used to account for patient, injury, and hospital characteristics.

Results: Overall, splenectomies continued to be less common with 8.3% of pediatric patients receiving splenectomies in the follow-up period compared with 14.3% and 7.2% in the preintervention and post-intervention periods (p = 0.034). After adjustment, splenectomies remained less likely to be performed in both post-intervention (OR = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.16-0.90) and follow-up periods (OR = 0.29; 95% CI = 0.12-0.70) compared to pre-intervention. Children were much more likely to be cared for at pediatric trauma hospitals in the follow-up period (OR = 5.13; 95% CI = 2.79-9.43) after adjustment.

Conclusions: Evaluation of this statewide quality improvement initiative showed that positive changes in management practices persist. This evidence suggests that statewide quality improvement initiatives can be sustainable with minimal ongoing effort.

Level of evidence: Level III.

Keywords: Blunt spleen injury; Nonoperative management; Pediatric trauma; Quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spleen* / injuries
  • Spleen* / surgery
  • Splenectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Washington