Updating the management of salvageable splenic injury

C. L. Witte, M. J. Esser, W. D. Rappaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Because of the ready availability of autotransfusers and risk of transfusion-transmitted disease, the authors reexamined the management of splenic trauma. During the past 6 months, 20 adult and pediatric patients were treated for blunt splenic trauma. Nine had 'minor' lacerations and were successfully managed nonoperatively. Eleven had ongoing hemorrhage or associated visceral injury necessitating laparotomy. In two, coexistent injuries were life threatening and total splenectomy was performed. The other nine had major splenic trauma that was either an isolated phenomenon or was associated with an injury not jeopardizing survival; eight spleens were salvaged. Mean intra-abdominal blood loss was ~1250 mL and, using a 'cell saver,' an average of ~790 mL was reinfused. Six received no other blood transfusion whereas three received 2250 mL homologous blood in addition to 4250 mL via the 'cell-saver.' With hilar laceration, repair was facilitated by temporarily occluding the splenic pedicle atraumatically, and suturing torn polar branches via the laceration site. In both children and adults with major splenic injury, the authors now recommend early laparotomy with reinfusion of autologous blood. The spleen or a large remnant can usually be salvaged, and homologous blood transfusion with its attendant complication can often be obviated altogether.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Updating the management of salvageable splenic injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this