Is early discharge following isolated splenic injury in the hemodynamically stable child possible?

James M. Lynch, Henri Ford, Mary J. Gardner, Eugene S. Weiner

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34 Scopus citations


Nonoperative treatment of splenic injury is well accepted. Two questions have not been answered. (1) What is the intensity of monitoring required in the hemodynamically stable patient? (2) How long do patients need to be hospitalized? Ninety-one patients having computed tomography (CT) or surgically proven splenic injury were treated between September 1986 and September 1991. Excluded from the study were 16 patients requiring operation and 22 patients having multiple system injuries. All operations occurred within 24 hours of admission. No transfusions were required later than 48 hours following admission. The remaining 53 patients (58%) constitute the study group. CT classification of Buntain indicated 6 class I, 21 class II, 24 class III, and 2 class IV injuries. The mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) for the group was 6.98±3.43. Serial hematocrits for the patients treated without transfusions were followed until three consecutive determinations showed no change. The lowest average hematocrit for the nontransfused group was 30.96%±4.47% and occurred on day 2.06±0.76. Eleven patients (23%) had left-sided pleural effusions that resolved without intervention. One patient had an ileus for 3 days. CT or ultrasound examination was obtained on day 5 to 7 to document healing before the patient was allowed out of bed and discharged. The average hospital stay was 7.06±2.24 days. Twenty-two patients were initially observed in the intensive care unit (ICU). Clearly the interval between hematocrit stability (average, 2.06 days) and discharge (average, 7.06 days) constitutes a time of minimal nursing care while utilizing bed space and health care dollars. We conclude that in the study group, (1) there were no benefits to ICU monitoring; (2) most patients could have been discharged after day 3; and (3) implementing an early discharge policy is safe and results in health care dollar savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1407
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Splenic trauma, nonoperative therapy
  • pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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