Emergency or urgent splenectomy in children for non-traumatic reasons

Inbal Samuk, Emmanuelle Seguier-Lipszyc*, Artur Baazov, Hannah Tamary, Elhanan Nahum, Ran Steinberg, Enrique Freud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emergency splenectomy is rarely performed since a widespread consensus exists towards conservative management of splenic injury. However, in selected conditions, mainly hematological, there is a role for emergency or urgent splenectomy. This study aims to retrospectively review these cases and discuss outcome in relation to the pre-existing splenic pathologies. Between 2000 and 2015, 12 patients, five girls, and seven boys, with a median age of six years (3 months–13.11 years), underwent emergency or urgent splenectomy for non-traumatic conditions. All patients had major associated disorders; mainly hematological (11 cases) including hemolytic anemia with pancytopenia (1), sickle cell anemia (1), AML (1), ALL (2), CML (1), T cell lymphoma (1), Burkitt lymphoma (1), and ITP (3). One patient had a microvillous inclusion disease. Indications for splenectomy included diffuse resistant splenic abscesses (4), intracranial hemorrhage (4) or hypersplenism (3) with refractory thrombocytopenia, and spontaneous splenic rapture (1). Nine patients improved following surgery but three died, owing to massive intracranial hemorrhage (1) and severe respiratory failure (2) despite aggressive management. Conclusions: Rarely, an emergency splenectomy is required in complex settings, mostly refractory hematological conditions, in a deteriorating patient when all other measurements have failed. A multidisciplinary team approach is mandatory in the treatment of these complex cases.What is known• Conservative treatment is advised for splenic injury.• Many hematological disorders are responsible of splenic pathology.What is new• Emergency splenectomy in children for reasons other than trauma is a treatment of last resort that should be performed in a multidisciplinary context.• The outcome of emergency splenectomy in children for reasons other than trauma depends on the underlying medical condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1367
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Children
  • Emergency splenectomy
  • Non-traumatic


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