Management of splenic trauma at a rural, Level I trauma center

Am Surg. 1997 Jun;63(6):490-5.


The spleen is the most commonly injured organ in blunt abdominal trauma. There remains much controversy in the diagnosis and management of the injured spleen, with a recent trend toward nonoperative management. A 5-year period was reviewed at a rural, Level I trauma center to address issues of operative versus nonoperative management. During this time period, there were 136 patients identified as having trauma to the spleen. Most (95%) were the result of blunt trauma, and a majority of these were from motor vehicle accidents. Computed tomography was the most frequent method of diagnosis. Approximately half of the patients underwent immediate operative intervention. Of those initially observed, 10 patients (16%) eventually were operated on. Most of the cases were due to underestimation of the severity of the splenic injury, and most received blood transfusion. This experience suggests that observation for splenic trauma is appropriate in many cases, as long as the surgeon is certain the spleen is not actively bleeding and the patient will not require blood transfusion.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population
  • Spleen / diagnostic imaging
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Splenectomy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Trauma Centers
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virginia
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery*