European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 791–799 | Cite as

Blunt splenic injury in children: haemodynamic status key to guiding management, a 5-year review of practice in a UK major trauma centre

  • Rohan ArdleyEmail author
  • Laura Carone
  • Stella Smith
  • Stephen Spreadborough
  • Patrick Davies
  • Adam Brooks
Original Article



To review the management of children and adolescents (0–18 years), with blunt splenic injury treated at a single UK major trauma centre over a 5-year period, focusing upon efficacy of non-operative management and the use of haemodynamic stability as a guide to planning treatment strategy, rather than radiological injury grading. To produce a treatment pathway for management of blunt splenic injury in children.


Retrospective, cross-sectional study of all paediatric patients admitted with radiologically proven blunt splenic injury between January 2011 and March 2016. Penetrating injuries were excluded. Follow up was for at least 30 days.


30 Patients were included, mean age was 14.5 (SD 3.6), median injury severity score was 16 (IQR 10–31). 6 Patients (20%) had a splenectomy, whilst 22 patients (73%) were successfully treated non-operatively with 100% efficacy at index admission. 5/8 (63%) patients with radiological grade V injuries were managed non-operatively, injury grade was not associated with surgical intervention (p = 1.57). Haemodynamic instability was initially treated with fluid resuscitation leading to successful non-operative management in 5/11 (45%) patients. However, haemodynamic instability is a significant predictor of requirement for surgical intervention (p = 0.03), admission to critical care (p = 0.017), presence of additional injuries (p = 0.015) and increased length of stay (p = 0.038). No such relationships were found to be associated with increased radiological injury grade.


Non-operative management should be first-line treatment in the haemodynamically stable child with a blunt splenic injury and may be carried out with a high degree of efficacy. It may also be successfully implemented in those initially showing signs of haemodynamic instability that respond to fluid resuscitation. Radiological injury grade does not predict definitive management, level of care, or length of stay; however, haemodynamic stability may be utilised to produce a treatment algorithm and is key to guiding management.


Spleen Splenic Injury Trauma Paediatric 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and animal rights

No research was conducted using human or animal participants

Informed consent

None required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East Midlands Major Trauma Centre, Queens Medical CentreNottinghamUK
  2. 2.LNR deaneryNottinghamUK

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