Nonoperative management of blunt splenic injury: A 5-year experience

James M. Haan, Grant V. Bochicchio, N. Kramer, Thomas M. Scalea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

245 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the success rate of nonoperative management of blunt splenic injury in an institution using splenic embolization. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all patients admitted to a Level I trauma center with blunt splenic injury. Data review included patient demographics, computed tomographic (CT) scan results, management technique, and patient outcomes. Results: A total of 648 patients with blunt splenic injury were admitted, 280 of whom underwent immediate surgical management. Three hundred sixty-eight underwent planned nonoperative management, and 70 patients were treated with observation, serial abdominal examination, and follow-up abdominal CT scanning. All were hemodynamically stable, with a 100% salvage rate. One hundred sixty-six patients had a negative angiogram, with a nonoperative salvage rate of 94%, and 132 patients underwent embolization, with a nonoperative salvage rate of 90%. Overall salvage rates decreased with increasing injury grade; however, over 80% of grade 4 and 5 injuries were successfully managed nonoperatively. The salvage rate was similar for main coil embolization versus selective or combined embolization techniques. Admission abdominal CT scan correlated with splenic salvage rates. Significant hemoperitoneum, extravasation, and pseudoaneurysm had acceptable salvage rates, whereas arteriovenous fistula had a high failure rate, even after embolization. Conclusion: Splenic embolization is a valuable adjunct to splenic salvage in our experience, allowing for the increased use of nonoperative management and higher salvage rates for American Association for the Surgery of Trauma splenic injury grades when compared with prior studies. Main coil embolization has a similar salvage rate when compared with other angiographic techniques. An arteriovenous fistula as a CT finding was predictive of a 40% nonoperative failure rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiography
  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Blunt
  • Embolization
  • Nonoperative management
  • Splenic injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonoperative management of blunt splenic injury: A 5-year experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this