Justification for an abbreviated protocol in the management of blunt spleen and liver injury in children.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2007.09.042


OBJECTIVE(S): The current management of blunt spleen/liver injury in children requires a number of days of bed rest equal to the grade of injury plus 1. This protocol is used even when there is no clinical indication of ongoing bleeding. To establish a prospective protocol with an abbreviated period of bed rest, we conducted a retrospective review of our blunt spleen and liver trauma experience to examine the safety of such an attenuated protocol.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of our most recent 10-year experience (January 1996 to December 2005) with blunt spleen or liver injury was performed. Patient demographics, vital signs, hemoglobin levels, need for transfusion, operations, and outcomes were measured. An abbreviated protocol using 1 night of bed rest for grades 1 and 2 injuries and 2 nights of bed rest for higher grades was designed. This protocol was then applied to our patient population to assess its safety. Data are expressed as mean +/- SD.

RESULTS: During the study period, 243 patients were admitted with blunt spleen and/or liver injury. The mean patient age was 9.0 +/- 4.6 years, and the mean weight was 35.3 +/- 19.3 kg. Sixty-three percent were male. The spleen was injured in 148 (61.2%) patients and the liver in 121 (50.0%), and 26 (10.6%) had both. The mean grade was 2.0 +/- 1.1, for which the mean bed rest was 3.5 +/- 1.1 days. This resulted in 5.6 +/- 6.5 days of hospitalization. There were 9 patients who died, 7 with severe brain injury and 2 with massive liver hemorrhage on presentation. No patient required an operation or transfusion after 2 nights of observation who did not have clinically obvious signs of ongoing blood loss. Implementation of the abbreviated protocol would have affected 65.8% of our patients and would have saved a mean of 2.0 +/- 1.5 hospital days per patient.

CONCLUSIONS: According to our data, an abbreviated trauma protocol with overnight bed rest for grades 1 and 2 injuries and 2 nights for higher grades could be safely used. This protocol would immensely improve current resource use. Based on these retrospectively collected data, we have initiated a prospective consecutive controlled series to assess the safety of such an attenuated protocol.

Journal Title

Journal of pediatric surgery





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MeSH Keywords

Abdominal Injuries; Adolescent; Age Distribution; Bed Rest; Child; Child, Preschool; Cohort Studies; Female; Humans; Incidence; Injury Severity Score; Liver; Male; Observation; Retrospective Studies; Risk Assessment; Sex Distribution; Splenic Rupture; Survival Rate; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Treatment Outcome; Wounds, Nonpenetrating


Splenic rupture; nonpenetrating wounds

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