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March 1995

Nonoperative Management of Splenic and Hepatic Trauma in the Multiply Injured Pediatric and Adolescent Patient

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI. Dr Pfeifer is currently in private practice in Foxborough, Mass.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(3):332-338. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430030102021

Objective:  To determine whether nonoperative management of splenic and hepatic injury in the multiply injured pediatric and adolescent patient is both safe and efficacious.

Design:  Retrospective case series.

Setting:  Level 1 trauma center.

Patients:  All patients younger than 19 years old who suffered trauma to the spleen or liver between February 1978 and December 1991 (n=103) were retrospectively identified by a trauma registry. These patients were divided into three groups: the group as a whole, those suffering multiple injuries, and those suffering either head injury or injury remote from the abdomen that required operative repair.

Main Outcome Measures:  Injury severity and outcome within each group of patients were compared based on whether the splenic or hepatic injury was managed operatively or nonoperatively.

Results:  Mean Injury Severity Scores among the multiply injured patients were not different depending on whether the splenic or hepatic injury was managed nonoperatively or operatively. Except for a higher incidence of transfusion requirement among patients who were treated operatively, measures of morbidity among the multiply injured patients did not differ based on treatment. The success rates of nonoperative treatment among all patients, those with multiple injuries, and those with either head injury or remote injury that required surgery were 94%, 90%, and 86%, respectively.

Conclusion:  Nonoperative management of splenic and hepatic injury in multiply injured pediatric and adolescent patients, including those with head injury and injury remote from the abdomen that requires surgical intervention, is successful and is not associated with a prohibitive morbidity.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:332-338)

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