Splenectomy for trauma increases the rate of early postoperative infections

James Wiseman, Carlos V.R. Brown, Janie Weng, Ali Salim, Peter Rhee, Demetrios Demetriades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Little is known what effect splenectomy for trauma has on early postoperative infectious complications. Our aim was to determine if splenectomy increases early postoperative infections in trauma patients undergoing laparotomy. We reviewed all trauma patients undergoing splenectomy from June 2002 through December 2004. Each splenectomy patient was matched to a unique trauma patient who underwent laparotomy without splenectomy based on age, gender, mechanism of injury, injury severity score, and presence of colon or other hollow visceral injury. Outcomes included infectious complications including pneumonia, urinary tract infection, bacteremia, and intra-abdominal abscess, as well as mortality. There were 98 splenectomy patients and 98 controls. The splenectomy patients had more overall infectious complications (45% vs 30%, P = 0.04) trended toward more urinary tract infections (12% vs 5%, P = 0.12), and more often had pneumonia (30% vs 14%, P = 0.02). Additionally, more splenectomy patients developed multiple infections (20% vs 7%, P = 0.01). There was no difference in mortality (11% vs 8%, P = 0.63). Splenectomy is associated with an increase in infectious complications after laparotomy for trauma. More specifically, splenectomy patients more often develop pneumonia and multiple infections. This increase in infections is not associated with increased mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-950
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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