Prospective study on the early postoperative follow-up after spleen rupture: Spleen preservation versus splenectomy
The haematological and immunological changes after splenectomy have been the subject of intensive research in recent years. As a consequence there has been a clear trend towards splenic salvage. Due to the availability of improved diagnostic investigations (sonography, CT) nonoperative treatment with close observation has become increasingly important in adults. 75 patients with documented splenic injury were prospectively evaluated over a 45-month period with an emphasis upon splenic preservation. Unstable patients had operative exploration with attempt at splenorrhaphy or partial splenic resection. Stable patients were managed nonoperatively, regardless of the degree of splenic injury as determined by sonography and/or computed tomography. In 38 patients the spleen was preserved by operative preservation in 20 and nonoperative treatment in 18 patients. 37 patients required splenectomy. Four patients were managed initially by nonoperative treatment, but required exploration for secondary rupture at 7, 7, 10 and 13 days. Delayed splenectomy was performed in three patients and one patient was treated by splenorrhaphy 7 days after admission. Bleeding complications occurred in one patient after splenorrhaphy (bleeding from the pancreatic tail) and the bleeding vessel could be transfixed during the same anaesthetic. Four patients required reexploration after splenectomy for hemorrhage (2) and evacuation of infected haematomas. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) of the splenectomy and splenic preservation group was determined. Splenectomised patients showed in the postoperative follow-up a significantly increased infection rate (40%, p less than 0.02) when compared to patients with splenic preservation (10%) or nonoperative treatment (11%), even when they were matched in respect of multiple trauma using the Injury Severity Score (ISS).