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J Pediatr Surg. 1989 Jul;24(7):642-4; discussion 644-5.

Splenic embolization in children: long-term efficacy.

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Department of Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver 80262.


Eighteen partial splenic embolization procedures (PSEs) were performed in 17 children for hypersplenism (13) and/or esophageal variceal hemorrhage (12). The underlying disease was biliary atresia (BA) in nine children, portal vein thrombosis (PVT) in four, and biliary cirrhosis (BC) in four. From 20% to 90% of the spleen was embolized. Immediate morbidity was high, albeit minor, and the initial hospitalization was protracted for an average of 16 days. The children were followed from 4 to 81 months (average, 34.2). Four patients with BA patients subsequently had liver transplantation at an average of 20 months after PSE. In ten of 13 patients with hypersplenism, hematologic indexes returned to and remained normal throughout follow-up. The three exceptional patients (who had only 20%, 60% and 60% splenic embolization) developed recurrent mild hypersplenism, one of whom was reembolized and is free from hypersplenism 22 months later. Variceal hemorrhage was ameliorated in all 12 patients (average, 2.4 episodes of hemorrhage per year before PSE, 0.5 per year afterwards). Overwhelming postsplenectomy sepsis did not occur in an aggregate follow-up of 48.5 years. PSE is a legitimate treatment alternative for hypersplenism and for esophageal varices in children.

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