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J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Jan 16. pii: S0022-3468(20)30001-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.01.001. [Epub ahead of print]

The adherence of adult trauma centers to American Pediatric Surgical Association guidelines on management of blunt splenic injuries.

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Division of Pediatric Surgery, John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Electronic address:
Division of Pediatric Surgery, John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, Buffalo, NY.
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Biostatistics and Bioinformatics).
Department of Emergency Medicine, SUNY Jacobs School of Medicine.
Department of Surgery, SUNY Jacobs School of Medicine.



Nonoperative management (NOM) is commonly utilized in hemodynamically stable children with blunt splenic injuries (BSI). Guidelines published by the American Pediatric Surgical Association over the past 15 years support this approach. We sought to determine the rates and outcomes of NOM in pediatric BSI and compare trends between pediatric (PTC), mixed (MTC) and adult trauma centers (ATC).


This was a retrospective database analysis of the NTDB data from 2011 to 2015 including pediatric patients with BSI, as described by ICD-9-CM Codes 865.00-865.09. Patients with head injuries with AIS > 2, multiple intraabdominal injuries, and transfers-out were excluded. According to ACS and/or state designation, trauma facilities were defined as PTC (level I/II pediatric only), MTC (level I/II adult and pediatric) and ATC (level I/II adult only). OM group was defined as presence of procedure codes reflecting exploratory laparotomy/laparoscopy and/or any splenic procedures. NOM group consisted of patients who were observed, transfused or had transarterial embolization (TAE). Variables analyzed were age, ISS, spleen AIS, amount and type of blood products transfused, and intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital (H) length of stay (LOS).


5323 children met the inclusion criteria. 11.4% received care at PTC (NOM, 97%), 40.7% at MTC (NOM, 89.9%) and 47.8% at ATC (NOM, 83.8%) (P < 0.001). In NOM group, PTC patients had the highest spleen AIS (3.46 ± 0.95, P < 0.001). TAE was predominantly used at MTC and ATC (P = 0.001). MTC and ATC were more likely to transfuse than PTC (P = 0.002). MTC and ATC OM rates were lower in children aged ≤12 than in children aged >12 (P < 0.001). Splenectomy rate was 1.5% at PTC, 8.4% at MTC, and 14.4% at ATC (P < 0.001). In OM group, PTC patients had a higher ISS (P = 0.018) and spleen AIS (P = 0.048) than both MTC and ATC. The proportion of patients treated by NOM at ATC increased during the 5-year period studied (P = 0.015). Treatment at MTC or ATC increased the risk for OM by 3.89 and 5.36 times respectively (P < 0.001).


PTCs still outperform ATCs in NOM success rates despite higher ISS and splenic injury grades. From 2011 to 2015, ATC OM rates dropped from 17% to 12.4% suggesting increased adoption of the APSA guidelines. Further educational initiatives may help augment this trend.


II TYPE OF STUDY: Retrospective.


Age; Length of stay; Nonoperative management; Retrospective studies; Spleen/injuries; Splenectomy; Splenic trauma; Trauma centers

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