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Eur J Emerg Med. 1995 Mar;2(1):47-51.

Management of splenic trauma--changing concepts.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden.


During the last two decades the reported risk of overwhelming postsplenectomy infection (OPSI) has resulted in a conservative approach to splenic trauma, with the aim of splenic salvage. The appropriateness of this strategy is now questioned. The risk of OPSI varies with age and indication for splenectomy from less than 1% in adults to more than 4% in children. Pneumococcus is the causative agent in about 60% of cases. A prerequisite for splenic preservation procedures should be a haemodynamically stable patient without other intraabdominal injuries. The benefits derived from non-operative treatment of splenic salvage procedures may be overshadowed by the potential risk of transfusion-related bacterial and viral diseases. Polyvalent pneumococcal vaccines given early after splenectomy appear to reduce the incidence of OPSI substantially.

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