As nonoperative management (NOM) of blunt splenic injury (BSI) increases, understanding risks, especially infectious complications, becomes more important. There are no national studies on BSI outcomes that track readmissions across hospitals. Prior studies demonstrate that infection is a major cause of readmission after trauma and that a significant proportion is readmitted to different hospitals. The purpose of this study was to compare nationwide outcomes of different treatment modalities for BSI including readmissions to different hospitals.
The Nationwide Readmissions Database for 2010 to 2014 was queried for patients 18 years to 64 years old admitted nonelectively with a primary diagnosis of BSI. Organ space infection; a composite infectious incidence of surgical site infection (SSI), urinary tract infection, and pneumonia; and sepsis were identified in three groups: NOM, splenic artery embolization (SAE), and operative management (OM). Rates of infection were quantified during index admission and 30-day and 1-year readmission. Multivariable logistic regression was performed. Results were weighted for national estimates.
Of the 37,986 patients admitted for BSI, 54.1% underwent NOM, 12.2% SAE, and 33.7% OM. Compared with OM and NOM, SAE had the highest rates of organ space SSI at 1 year (3.9% vs. 2.2% vs. 1.7%, p < 0.001). Compared with NOM, at 1 year, SAE had higher rates of infection (17.2% vs. 8.1%, p < 0.001) and sepsis (3.2% vs. 1.1%, p < 0.001). Compared with NOM, SAE had an increased risk of infection (odds ratio [OR], 1.24; 95 confidence interval [95% CI], 1.10–1.39; p < 0.001) and sepsis (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.06–1.76; p < 0.001) at 1 year. At 1 year, SAE had increased risk of organ space SSI (OR, 1.99; 1.60–2.47; p < 0.001) but OM did not.
Blunt splenic injury treated with SAE is at increased risk of both immediate and long-term infectious complications. Despite being considered splenic preservation, surgeons should be aware of these risks and incorporate such knowledge into their practice accordingly.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Epidemiological study, level IV.