Blunt splenic injuries: High nonoperative management rate can be achieved with selective embolization

Daniel Dent, Grady Alsabrook, Brian A. Erickson, John Myers, Michael Wholey, Ronald Stewart, Harlan Root, Hector Ferral, Darren Postoak, Dacia Napier, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Background: This retrospective review tests the hypothesis that including selective splenic arteriography and embolization in the algorithm of a previously existing nonoperative management (NOM) strategy will result in higher rates of successful NOM in patients with blunt splenic injury. Methods: All patients with blunt splenic injuries documented by computed tomographic scan and/or operative findings over a 24-month period at a Level I trauma center were reviewed. A previously published series from this institution of 251 patients with splenic injury (Group 1) was then compared with the patients that constitute this current review (Group 2). Group 2 was then compared with patients described in a previous publication advocating nonselective arteriography in blunt splenic injuries. Results: Thirteen patients with blunt splenic injury in Group 2 underwent 14 splenic embolization procedures, with 12 (93%) being successfully treated without operation. Group 2 had a significantly higher NOM rate (82% vs. 65%, p < 0.01) than Group 1. These results are similar to the series published by Sclafani et al. (82.1% vs. 83.1%) in which every patient with splenic injury that was managed nonoperatively underwent arteriography with or without embolization. Conclusion: A high rate of NOM can be achieved with observation and selective use of arteriography with or without embolization in the management of blunt splenic injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1067
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Blunt splenic injury
  • Embolization
  • Nonoperative management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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