Splenic injury: A 5-year update with improved results and changing criteria for conservative management

Richard H. Pearl, David E. Wesson*, Laura J. Spence, Robert M. Filler, Sigmund H. Ein, Barry Shandling, Riccardo A. Superina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The policy of conservative nonoperative management of injured spleens is reviewed and recommendations are made to improve this mode of therapy. From 1981 to 1986, 75 patients were admitted with diagnosed splenic injury. Of these, ten were operated on (4 splenorrhaphies, 3 total splenectomies, 1 partial splenectomy) and three died, all from causes unrelated to splenic trauma. Only 23% of the patients treated nonoperatively required blood transfusions, and the length of both hospital stay and time spent in the intensive care unit (ICU) was reduced. The results of this review show that, in comparison with our previous 5-year report, (1) the number of patients treated without surgery rose from 70% to 87%, (2) those receiving blood transfusions dropped from 36% to 23%, and (3) the number undergoing a spelenectomy fell from 24% to 4%. These data suggest that (1) most children with splenic injury can be successfully treated without operation, (2) those who are hemodynamically stable do not require ICU care, and (3) the total hospital stay for uncomplicated splenic injury can be limited to seven days. A laparotomy can be safely reserved for patients with immediate massive hemorrhage or with transfusion requirements of>40 mL/kg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-431
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


  • Spleen
  • injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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