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Delayed Rupture of a Normal Appearing Spleen After Trauma: Is Our Knowledge Enough? Two Case Reports

Unusual clinical course, Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Luigi Romeo, Dario Andreotti, Domenico Lacavalla, Silvia Ferro, Matteo Tondo, Elisabetta Salviato, Savino Occhionorelli

Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine, Sant’Anna University Hospital, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e919617

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.919617

Available online:

Published: 2020-01-04


BACKGROUND: Non-operative management is considered the gold standard for hemodynamically stable patients with splenic injuries. Delayed splenic rupture is a well-known complication of non-operative management in splenic trauma, with a relevant impact on mortality and morbidity. Most of the reported cases of delayed splenic rupture presented splenic injury at admission imaging or no imaging investigations were performed. We report 2 cases of delayed splenic rupture after blunt trauma, in which multidetector computed tomography (CT) scan at admission did not show any splenic injury.
 
CASE REPORT: Two patients were admitted to our emergency surgery unit after abdominal trauma with left rib fractures, but no solid organ injuries were detected at CT scan. Some days after the trauma, both patients suddenly developed hemorrhagic shock due to splenic rupture and required emergency splenectomy.
CONCLUSIONS: Trauma patients’ management and follow-up remains challenging for surgeons, because of sudden clinical changes that can occur. Delayed splenic rupture with inconspicuous admission CT scan is a rare event. In some cases, it seems to be related to a poor CT quality, but this explanation cannot be adopted in all cases. Moreover, there is no standardization for imaging follow-up in the case of a normal CT scan at admission, in order to prevent delayed hemorrhage. In this context, every element that can identify patients with higher risk of delayed splenic rupture is of great importance. We suggest that lower left rib fractures can be associated with delayed splenic rupture, and we propose some explaining hypothesis.

Keywords: Abdominal Injuries, case reports, Rib Fractures, splenic rupture



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