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In the modern era, while the majority of patients presenting with splenic injury are victims of blunt trauma, up to 14 % are victims of penetrating trauma. Conversely, for victims of penetrating trauma, the spleen has been reported to be one of the most infrequently injured organs, ranging from 7 to 9 %.
No national recording systems for knife injuries exist in the UK. Understanding the true size and nature of the problem of knife injuries is the first stage in reducing the burden of this injury. The aim of this study was to survey every knife injury seen in a single inner city emergency department (ED) over a one-year period.
A cross-sectional observational study was performed of all patients attending with a knife injury to the ED of a London major trauma centre in 2011. Demographic characteristics, patterns of injury, morbidity and mortality data were collected.
A total of 938 knife injuries were identified from 127,191 attendances (0.77% of all visits) with a case fatality rate of 0.53%. A quarter (24%) of the major trauma team's caseload was for knife injuries. Overall, 44% of injuries were selfreported as assaults, 49% as accidents and 8% as deliberate self-harm. The highest age specific incident rate occurred in the 16-24 year age category (263/100,000). Multiple injuries were seen in 19% of cases, of which only 81% were recorded as assaults. The mean length of stay for those admitted to hospital was 3.04 days. Intrathoracic injury was seen in 26% of cases of chest trauma and 24% of abdominal injuries had a second additional chest injury.
Violent intentional injuries are a significant contributory factor to the workload of the major trauma team at this centre. This paper contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of these injuries seen in the ED.
The goal of non-operative management (NOM) for blunt splenic trauma (BST) is to preserve the spleen. The advantages of NOM for minor splenic trauma have been extensively reported, whereas its value for the more severe splenic injuries is still debated. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the available published evidence on NOM in patients with splenic trauma and to compare it with the operative management (OM) in terms of mortality, morbidity and duration of hospital stay.
For this systematic review we followed the "Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses" statement. A systematic search was conducted on PubMed from January 2000 to December 2011, without language restrictions, for studies that compared NOM vs. OM for splenic trauma injuries. Only studies involving at least 10 patients with BST were included.
We identified 21 non randomized studies: 1 Clinical Controlled Trial and 20 retrospective cohort studies analyzing a total of 16,940 patients with BST. NOM represents the gold standard treatment for minor splenic trauma and is associated with decreased mortality in severe splenic trauma (4.78% vs. 13.5% in NOM and OM, respectively). This is in line with what is reported in the literature. Of note, in BST treated operatively, other injuries accounted for the higher mortality. In addition, it was not possible to determine post-treatment morbidity in major splenic trauma. The definition of hemodynamic stability varied greatly in the literature depending on the surgeon and the trauma team, representing a further bias. Moreover, data on the remaining analyzed outcomes (hospital stay, number of blood transfusions, abdominal abscesses, overwhelming post-splenectomy infection) were not reported in all included studies or were not comparable, precluding the possibility to perform a meaningful cumulative analysis and comparison.
NOM of BST, preserving the spleen, is the treatment of choice for the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma grades I and II. Conclusions are more difficult to outline for higher grades of splenic injury, because of the substantial heterogeneity of expertise among different hospitals, and potentially inappropriate comparison groups.
: Although there is no debate that patients with peritonitis or hemodynamic instability should undergo urgent laparotomy after penetrating injury to the abdomen, it is also clear that certain stable patients without peritonitis may be managed without operation. The practice of deciding which patients may not need surgery after penetrating abdominal wounds has been termed selective management. This practice has been readily accepted during the past few decades with regard to abdominal stab wounds; however, controversy persists regarding gunshot wounds. Because of this, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma Practice Management Guidelines Committee set out to develop guidelines to analyze which patients may be managed safely without laparotomy after penetrating abdominal trauma. A secondary goal of this committee was to find which diagnostic adjuncts are useful in the determination of the need for surgical exploration.
: A search of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health MEDLINE database was performed using PubMed (www.pubmed.gov).
: The search retrieved English language articles concerning selective management of penetrating abdominal trauma and related topics from the years 1960 to 2007. These articles were then used to construct this set of practice management guidelines.
: Although the rate of nontherapeutic laparotomies after penetrating wounds to the abdomen should be minimized, this should never be at the expense of a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of injury. With this in mind, a routine laparotomy is not indicated in hemodynamically stable patients with abdominal stab wounds without signs of peritonitis or diffuse abdominal tenderness. Likewise, it is also not routinely indicated in stable patients with abdominal gunshot wounds if the wounds are tangential and there are no peritoneal signs. Abdominopelvic computed tomography should be considered in patients selected for initial nonoperative management to facilitate initial management decisions. The majority of patients with penetrating abdominal trauma managed nonoperatively may be discharged after 24 hours of observation in the presence of a reliable abdominal examination and minimal to no abdominal tenderness. Diagnostic laparoscopy may be considered as a tool to evaluate diaphragmatic lacerations and peritoneal penetration in an effort to avoid unnecessary laparotomy.
The primary aim of this study was to delineate the role of computed tomography (CT) in patients undergoing NOM for AGSW.
Nonoperative management (NOM) of abdominal gunshot wounds (AGSWs) remains controversial.
This prospective study included all patients with abdominal gunshot injuries admitted to our trauma center from April 1, 2004 to September 30, 2009. Exclusion criteria included patients with peritonitis, hemodynamic instability, unreliable physical examination, head and spinal cord injury with an AGSW underwent immediate laparotomy. The remaining patients were selected for NOM. Nonperitonitic stable patients with right-sided thoracoabdominal/right upper quadrant gunshots and/or hematuria underwent mandatory CT with intravenous contrast. CT to detect missile trajectory was optional. The primary outcome measure was failure of NOM. Secondary outcomes were unnecessary laparotomy rates and mortality.
A total of 1106 patients with abdominal gunshot injuries were admitted. Of these, 834 (75.4%) underwent immediate laparotomy, whereas 272 (24.6%) were selected for NOM. In the former group, there were 56 (6.7%) deaths and 29 (3.5%) unnecessary laparotomies, whereas in the latter NOM group, 82 (30.1%) patients were managed by serial clinical examination alone, whereas 190 (69.9%) patients underwent abdominal CT scanning, in addition to serial clinical examination. The overall NOM success rate was 95.2%. Of the 13 patients undergoing delayed laparotomy, there were 10 therapeutic, 2 nontherapeutic, and 1 negative laparotomy.
The NOM of appropriately selected patients with AGSW with selective use of CT scanning is feasible, safe, and effective, but largely based on findings from serial clinical examinations.
Selective non-operative management (NOM) is standard of care for clinically stable patients with blunt splenic trauma and expectant management approaches are increasingly utilized in penetrating abdominal trauma, including in the setting of solid organ injury. Despite this evolution of clinical practice, little is known about the safety and efficacy of NOM in penetrating splenic injury.
Trauma registry and medical record review identified all consecutive patients presenting to LAC + USC Medical Center with penetrating splenic injury between January 2001 and December 2011. Associated injuries, incidence and nature of operative intervention, local and systemic complications and mortality were determined.
During the study period, 225 patients experienced penetrating splenic trauma. The majority (187/225, 83%) underwent emergent laparotomy. Thirty-eight clinically stable patients underwent a deliberate trial of NOM and 24/38 (63%) were ultimately managed without laparotomy. Amongst patients failing NOM, 3/14 (21%) underwent splenectomy while an additional 6/14 (42%) had splenorrhaphy. Hollow viscus injury (HVI) occurred in 21% of all patients failing NOM. Forty percent of all NOM patients had diaphragmatic injury (DI). All patients undergoing delayed laparotomy for HVI or a splenic procedure presented symptomatically within 24 h of the initial injury. No deaths occurred in patients undergoing NOM.
Although the vast majority of penetrating splenic trauma requires urgent operative management, a group of patients does present without hemodynamic instability, peritonitis or radiologic evidence of hollow viscus injury. Management of these patients is complicated as over half may remain clinically stable and can avoid laparotomy, making them potential candidates for a trial of NOM. HVI is responsible for NOM failure in up to a fifth of these cases and typically presents within 24 h of injury. Delayed laparotomy, within this limited time period, did not appear to increase mortality nor preclude successful splenic salvage. In clinically stable patients, diagnostic laparoscopy remains essential to evaluate and repair occult DI. As NOM for penetrating abdominal trauma becomes more common, multi-center data is needed to more accurately define the principles of patient selection and the limitations and consequences of this approach in the setting of splenic injury.
The spleen is the most commonly injured visceral organ in blunt abdominal trauma in both adults and children. Nonoperative management is the current standard of practice for patients who are hemodynamically stable. However, simple observation alone has been reported to have a failure rate as high as 34%; the rate is even higher among patients with high-grade splenic injuries (American Association for the Surgery of Trauma [AAST] grade III-V). Over the past decade, angiography with transcatheter splenic artery embolization, an alternative nonoperative treatment for splenic injuries, has increased splenic salvage rates to as high as 97%. With the help of splenic artery embolization, success rates of more than 80% have also been described for high-grade splenic injuries. We discuss the role of computed tomography and transcatheter splenic artery embolization in the diagnosis and treatment of blunt splenic trauma. We review technical considerations, indications, efficacy and complication rates. We also propose an algorithm to guide the use of angiography and splenic embolization in patients with traumatic splenic injury.
The recognition of the fundamental role of the spleen in the immune response has led to greater efforts to preserve the spleen after injury. Whenever possible, splenic preservation is the preferred treatment modality for both blunt and penetrating injuries. The past 2 decades have seen an evolution in the way this goal is accomplished. Operative splenic preservation achieved by splenorrhaphy as the most prevalent method for the management of splenic trauma has progressed to the nonoperative management of these injuries. The factor most responsible for bringing about this change has been the development of more sophisticated and accurate imaging techniques in the evaluation of these patients. Splenectomy should be avoided whenever possible, as the procedure continues to be associated with excessive transfusion requirements and increased postoperative sepsis rates.
This is a report of 546 consecutive patients with penetrating and blunt splenic trauma seen over a 17 1/2-year period (1980-1997). The etiology of the splenic injuries and the associated mortality rates were: blunt injuries 45 of 298 (15%), gunshot wounds 48 of 199 (24%), and stab wounds four of 49 (8%). The overall mortality rate was 97 of 546 (18%). The most significant risk factors for death were all associated with major blood loss: transfusion requirements > or = 6 units of blood, low initial operating room blood pressure, associated abdominal vascular injuries, and performance of a thoracotomy. The two most important organs injured in conjunction with the spleen that were significant predictors of postoperative infectious complications were colon and pancreas. The need for splenectomy was most significantly correlated with higher grades of splenic injury especially grades IV and V. The evolution in management of blunt splenic trauma has led to a significant improvement in splenic preservation and avoidance of laparotomy for many patients. Operative splenic salvage is reduced in patients subjected to laparotomy who are candidates for nonoperative treatment. Improved results with splenic injury should be obtained by rapid control of bleeding. This may require more liberal criterial in selecting patients with splenic trauma for early operative treatment.
Damage control surgery (DCS) and treatment of abdominal compartment syndrome have had major impacts on care of the severely injured. The objective of this study was to see whether advances in critical care, DCS, and recognition of abdominal compartment syndrome have improved survival from penetrating abdominal injury (PAI).
The care of 250 consecutive patients requiring laparotomy for PAI (1997-2000) was reviewed retrospectively. Organ injury patterns, survival, and use of DCS and its impact on outcome were compared with a similar experience reported in 1988.
Two hundred fifty patients had a positive laparotomy for PAI. Twenty-seven (10.8%) required abdominal packing and 45 (17.9%) did not have fascial closure. Seven (2.8%) required emergency department thoracotomy and 21 (8.4%) required operating room thoracotomy. Two hundred seventeen (86.8%) survived overall. Small bowel (47.2%), colon (36.4%), and liver (34.4%) were most often injured. Mortality was associated with the number of organs injured (odds ratio, 1.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.65-2.37; p < 0.001). Vascular injury was a risk factor for mortality (p < 0.001), as was need for DCS (p < 0.001), emergency department thoracotomy (p < 0.001), and operating room thoracotomy (p < 0.001). Seventy-nine percent of deaths occurred within 24 hours from refractory hemorrhagic shock. DCS was used in 17.9% (n = 45) versus 7.0% (n = 21) in 1988, with a higher survival rate (73.3% vs. 23.8%, p < 0.001). DCS was associated with significant morbidity including sepsis (42.4%, p < 0.001), intra-abdominal abscess (18.2%, p = 0.009), and gastrointestinal fistula (18.2%, p < 0.001).
Penetrating abdominal organ injury patterns and survival from PAI have remained similar over the past decade. Death from refractory hemorrhagic shock in the first 24 hours remains the most common cause of mortality. DCS and the open abdomen are being used more frequently with improved survival but result in significant morbidity.
Splenic trauma is a common organ injury following blunt abdominal trauma. In order to establish the contemporary epidemiology of blunt splenic trauma in Scotland and to detect risk factors associated with patient outcomes, analysis of a multi-center database of trauma patients was performed.
The study used data from a prospectively collated multicenter trauma database containing the details of 52,215 trauma patients admitted to participating Scottish hospitals over an 11-year period.
672 (1.3%) patients (530 males, 142 females) with splenic trauma were identified; of them, 579 (86.2%) had blunt trauma and 93 (13.8%) had penetrating trauma. The mean age of patients with blunt splenic trauma was 35.7 years (33.8 years for males, 42.0 years for females). Increasing age and female sex was significantly associated with mortality. The most common mechanism for injury was road traffic accidents (71%). In the series, 93.8% of patients had concomitant injuries including head injuries (46.5%), thoracic injuries (37.7%) and liver injuries (30%). A total of 299 (51.6%) patients proceeded to laparotomy, and 256 (44.2%) patients required ICU support. The overall mortality was 33.5%, and the median Injury Severity Score was 48 in patients who died, compared to 22 in those who survived. Increased mortality was associated with concomitant aortic, cardiac, or abdominal injuries. A number of independent risk factors were associated with increased risk of mortality, including concomitant injuries, increased age, and increased Injury Severity Score.
The incidence of splenic trauma is low, but it accounts for significant mortality. Outcome in the present study was worse in those with advanced age and associated injuries.