Management outcomes in splenic injury: a statewide trauma center review

Ann Surg. 1997 Jul;226(1):17-24. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199707000-00003.


Objective: Clinical pathways now highlight both observation and operation as acceptable initial therapeutic options for the management of patients with splenic injury. The purpose of this study was to evaluate treatment trends for splenic injury in all North Carolina trauma centers over a 6-year period.

Methods: Splenic injuries in adults over a 6-year period (January 1988-December 1993) were identified in the North Carolina Trauma Registry using ICD-9-CM codes. Patients were divided into four groups by method of management: 1) no spleen operation, 2) splenectomy, 3) definitive splenorrhaphy, and 4) splenorrhaphy failure followed by splenectomy. The authors examined age, mechanism of injury, admitting blood pressure, and severity of injury by trauma score and injury severity score.

Summary background data: Comparisons were made between adult (17-64 years of age) and geriatric (older than 65 years of age) patients and between patients with blunt and penetrating injury. Resource utilization (length of stay, hospital charges) and outcome (mortality) were compared.

Results: One thousand two hundred fifty-five patients were identified with splenic injury. Rate of splenic preservation increased over time and was achieved in more than 50% of patients through nonoperative management (40%) and splenorrhaphy (12%). Splenorrhaphy was not used commonly in either blunt or penetrating injury. Overall mortality was 13%. Geriatric patients had a higher mortality and resource utilization regardless of their mechanism of injury or method of management.

Conclusions: Nonoperative management represents the prevailing method of splenic preservation in both the adult and geriatric population in North Carolina trauma center hospitals. Satisfactory outcomes and economic advantages accompany nonoperative management in this adult population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Hospital Charges / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Registries
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Spleen / surgery
  • Splenectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Splenic Rupture / epidemiology*
  • Splenic Rupture / surgery
  • Splenic Rupture / therapy
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy
  • Wounds, Penetrating / epidemiology*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery
  • Wounds, Penetrating / therapy