Nonoperative management (NOM) of blunt splenic injuries has become the standard of care in hemodynamically stable children. This study compares the management of these injuries between pediatric and nonpediatric hospitals in Canada.
Data were obtained from the Canadian Institute of Health Information trauma database on all patients aged 2 to 16 years, admitted to a Canadian hospital with a diagnosis of splenic injury between May 2002 and April 2004. Variables included age, sex, associated major injuries, splenic procedures, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, blood transfusions, and length of stay. Hospitals were coded as pediatric or nonpediatric. Univariate analysis and logistic regression were used to determine associations between hospital type and outcomes.
Of 1284 cases, 654 were managed at pediatric hospitals and 630 at nonpediatric centers. Patients at pediatric centers tended to be younger and more likely to have associated major injuries. Controlling for covariates, including associated major injuries, patients managed at pediatric centers were less likely to undergo splenectomy compared with those managed at nonpediatric centers (odds ratio [OR], 0.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-0.4). The risk of receiving blood products, admission to the ICU, and staying in hospital for more than 5 days was associated only with having associated major injuries.
Even in the presence of other major injuries, successful NOM of blunt splenic injuries occurs more frequently in pediatric hospitals in Canada. This has policy relevance regarding education of adult surgeons about the appropriateness of NOM in children and developing guidelines on appropriate regional triaging of pediatric patients with splenic injury in Canada.