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CT diagnosis of splenic infarction in blunt trauma: imaging features, clinical significance and complications

Miller, L A; Mirvis, S E; Shanmuganathan, K; Ohson, A S
AIM: The object of this study is to describe the appearance, complications, and outcome of segmental splenic infarctions occurring after blunt trauma using computed tomography (CT). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen blunt trauma patients were identified with splenic infarction on contrast-enhanced CT. CT images were retrospectively reviewed and the percentage of infarcted splenic tissue and presence of splenic injury separate from the site of infarction were identified. Splenic angiograms were reviewed and follow-up CT images were assessed for interval change in the appearance of the infarcts. RESULTS: The mean age of patients was 32 years and the most common mechanism of injury was road traffic accident. The majority (54%) had 25-50% infarction of the spleen. Splenic angiograms were performed in nine patients and seven demonstrated wedge-shaped regions of decreased perfusion corresponding to the infarction seen on CT with no need for intervention. Eleven patients underwent a follow-up CT that demonstrated the following: no significant change in six, near-complete resolution in two, delayed appearance of infarction in one, abscess formation in one, and delayed splenic rupture in one. CONCLUSION: Segmental splenic infarction is a rare manifestation of blunt splenic trauma. The diagnosis is readily made using contrast-enhanced CT. The majority will decrease in size on follow-up CT and resolve without clinical sequelae. Resolution of infarction is also seen and these cases are best described as temporary perfusion defects. Splenic abscess or delayed rupture are uncommon complications that may necessitate angiographic or surgical intervention
PMID: 15041453
ISSN: 0009-9260
CID: 133385