Nonoperative management of blunt splenic trauma in adults.
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The management of isolated blunt splenic trauma in adults is controversial. The authors present a series of 17 patients with blunt splenic trauma who were selected for nonoperative management. Only one patient eventually required surgery, for a ruptured spleen. Complications included pneumonia (two cases) and pleural effusion, atelectasis and ileus (one case each). There were no deaths. Five patients required transfusion, for a total of 17 units of blood. The mean length of hospital stay was 9.4 days. Comparison with a group of 17 patients treated operatively during the same period showed that those treated nonoperatively had fewer complications, required less blood and had a similar length of hospital stay. The authors conclude that nonoperative management of selected patients with isolated blunt splenic trauma is safe, if the patient's condition is closely monitored.
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