Introduction: As experience with the long-term complications of the asplenic state has accumulated, greater interest and effort has focused on splenic preservation techniques. Trans-arterial splenic embolization has emerged as a relatively safe and efficacious procedure in dealing with traumatic splenic injuries. The outcomes following this procedure, in terms of efficacy, complications, and long-term splenic function, have yet to be clearly defined. The purpose of this study was to document these outcomes in patients undergoing trans-arterial splenic embolization at a single tertiary care center.
Methods: A retrospective chart review of all patients that underwent trans-arterial splenic embolization at the University of Alberta Hospital was undertaken. Various patient characteristics and procedure details were recorded. Patient outcomes, in terms of infections, procedural failures, and peripheral blood smear results, were also recorded. Univariate analysis was done to determine the correlation of various patient and procedure variables with failure, infection, splenic infarction, and peripheral blood smear (PBS) results.
Results: A total of 19 patients underwent trans-arterial splenic embolization at the University of Alberta Hospital from January 2005 to January 2009. No variables correlated in a statistically significant manner to hemorrhage, infection, repeat embolization, splenic infarction, or abnormal PBS. Our results revealed that transarterial splenic embolization does not lead to long-term loss of splenic function.
Conclusions: Trans-arterial splenic embolization is a safe and effective procedure that does not lead to longterm compromise of splenic function. Complications and failures of this procedure, however, cannot be predicted based on either patient or procedure characteristics examined in this study.
Key words: Splenic Preservation, Splenic Injury, Splenic Embolization