WAIKOLOA, HAWAII (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Nonoperative management of blunt splenic injuries in the geriatric population is safe, based on results from a study of national data.

Although the efficacy and safety of nonoperative management of blunt splenic injuries in adults is well established, “early recommendations stated that advanced age was a contraindication to nonoperative management of blunt splenic injuries due to high reported failure rates,” researchers led by Marc Trust, MD, wrote in an abstract presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. “Although more recent literature has shown lower and acceptable failure rates, this population continues to fail more often compared to younger patients. Published data suffers from low patient numbers and is conflicting regarding future rate and safety.”

In an effort to obtain well powered, nationwide data to evaluate the recent failure rates and effect on morality among geriatric patients, Dr. Trust of the University of Texas at Austin and his associates retrospectively reviewed the 2014 National Trauma Databank to identify patients with blunt splenic injury. Those who did not receive splenectomy within 6 hours of admission were considered to have undergone nonoperative management. Failure of nonoperative management was defined as requiring splenectomy during the same hospitalization. The primary endpoints were failure of nonoperative management and mortality.

Of the 18,917 total patients identified with a blunt splenic injury 2,240 (12%) were aged 65 years and older. Geriatric patients failed nonoperative management more often than did younger patients (6% vs. 4%; P less than .0001). Having an Injury Severity Score of 16 or greater was the only independent risk factor associated with failure of nonoperative management in geriatric patients (odds ratio, 2.8; P less than .0001). No difference in mortality was observed in geriatric patients who had successful versus failed nonoperative management (11% vs. 15%; P = .22). Independent risk factors for mortality in geriatric patients who underwent nonoperative management included admission hypotension (OR, 1.5; P = .048), high ISS (OR, 3.8; P less than .0001), low Glasgow Coma Scale (OR, 5.0; P less than .0001), and preexisting cardiac disease (OR, 3.6; P less than .0001). However, failure of nonoperative management was not independently associated with mortality (OR, 1.4; P = .3).

In their abstract, the researchers characterized the increased failure rates of nonoperative blunt splenic injuries in geriatric patients, compared with their counterparts as “acceptable” and noted that they were lower than previously reported in published literature. They reported having no financial disclosures.


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