Predictability of splenic salvage by computed tomography

J Trauma. 1988 Jan;28(1):24-34. doi: 10.1097/00005373-198801000-00004.


The recognition of overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI) has led to greater efforts to conserve splenic tissue in patients sustaining blunt torso trauma. Nonoperative management of splenic trauma has emerged as a means to enhance splenic salvage yet criteria to assure the safety of such an approach remain ill defined and controversial. Since severity of injury directly influences outcome, a need exists for identification of splenic injuries that require early operation and repair or removal. Using our recently reported classification of splenic trauma, 46 patients with blunt splenic trauma were evaluated preoperatively with computed tomography (CT). Injuries were graded I through IV and were described as capsular or subcapsular disruptions without parenchymal injury (four); capsular and parenchymal injuries not involving the major vessels or hilum (24); injuries involving major vessels and/or the hilum (17); and fragmentation/devascularizing injuries (one). Additional modifiers were added for associated intra-abdominal and/or extra-abdominal injuries. Sixteen patients had their splenic injuries managed nonoperatively and the remainder underwent operation for the splenic injury or associated injuries. The CT classification was confirmed in all patients and we believe early operation optimized splenic salvage. We conclude that: 1) CT is an accurate technique to determine the extent of splenic injury; 2) CT classification of splenic trauma has a high correlation with anatomic findings and need for operation; 3) early operation in patients with severe class II and all class III injuries affords optimal conditions for splenic salvage; and 4) early definitive management of splenic trauma significantly reduces late splenectomy and shortens hospitalization.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Splenectomy / adverse effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / classification
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / pathology*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery