To evaluate the long-term outcome of elective splenectomy, with emphasis on the incidence of complications, vaccine immunization and patientÂ´s knowledge about asplenia.
Medical reports of all patients, who underwent elective splenectomy during the time period of 1993-2004, were reviewed. Questionnaire was sent to 96% (44/46) patients alive.
The average age was 50 (8-83) years. Thirty-five patients were male and 32 were female. Eighty percent responded to the questionnaire. Most of the patients (31) had idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Complete response was obtained in 60% (18/30) and partial response in 23% (7/30). Five patients had spherocytosis and all of them had complete response. None of the three patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia had any response to the splenectomy. Patients were vaccinated against pneumococci in 92% of the cases. In 44% of the cases revaccination was done. Only 41% of those who answered experienced that they had got a good education about the consequences of asplenia. Sixteen percent of the patients (10/64) had major postoperative complications. One patient with metastatic cancer and thrombocytopenia died within 30 days of surgery. Five patients had long-term complications. Two had pneumococcal sepsis, one of them was unvaccinated and the other had not been revaccinated.
Splenectomy has a good long-term outcome for spherocytosis and ITP patients. The incidence of complications is high. It is possible that better guidelines and better patientÂ´s education can lower the complication rate and improve the outcome.