PURPOSE: The aim of study was to evaluate the results of our experience with transarterial embolization based on a modified algorithm in patients with splenic injury. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We collected data of patients admitted to our hospital from January 2006 to August 2008 for blunt splenic injury. During this period, 46 patients were admitted for splenic trauma, of whom 17 were treated surgically, 15 conservatively and 14 with percutaneous embolisation (13 men, mean age 44.8, mean injury severity score 18.5, six with grade IV and eight with contrast blush). Patients in shock were referred for laparotomy and splenectomy, whereas those who were haemodynamically stable or responsive to fluid resuscitation were further evaluated with computed tomography (CT). In the presence of imaging evidence of splenic injury ranging from grade I to grade III (n=15) a conservative approach was adopted, whereas haemodynamically unstable patients with grade V injury (n=17) were treated with splenectomy. Embolisation was performed in 14 patients with grade IV injury or in the event of contrast extravasation, regardless of injury grade. In patients with diffuse organ damage, we embolised the main splenic artery, whereas in the case of localised injury, embolisation was selective. RESULTS: Proximal embolization was required in eight cases and distal coil embolization in six. In 13 cases, we placed magnetic-resonance-compatible coils 4-6 mm in diameter; only one patient was treated with gel-foam injection. Immediate technical success was achieved in all cases. In 13/14 patients (92.9%), no periprocedural complications were observed, whereas the remaining patient underwent splenectomy within 24 h due to recurrent bleeding. CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of our algorithm, it is possible to reach a quick decision on the most appropriate treatment for patients presenting with blunt abdominal trauma, and splenic artery embolization seems to offer a reliable option in those with high-grade splenic injury or active bleeding.
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