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AIM: To evaluate the advantages and potential risks of “Non Operative Management” (NOM) in order to redifine the technique into the true gold standard and to extend its application to the emergency care of blunt splenic trauma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Blunt trauma cases treated between 2004 and 2019 have been retrospectively evaluated. Every patient has been distributed at the hospital admission in 3 different groups: stable, unstable and transient responder according to ATLS. NOM exclusion criteria were only introduced in 2013: we therefore assessed datas before and after this year.
RESULTS: Over a period of 15 years, approximately 6 patients per year were admitted to our hospital with a spleen injury. After the introduction of the NOM protocol in 2013, the proportion of splenectomies progressively decreased. This rate also increased for higher injury grades. The overall number of patients who underwent NOM was 40 (43%), but while between 2004 and 2012 only 25% of patients were managed with NOM, between 2013 and 2019 70.3% of patients were treated with NOM.
CONCLUSIONS: Nowadays any blunt splenic trauma could, theoretically, undergo NOM, regardless of the grade of the injury; the only strict criteria for OM should be haemodynamic instability; this assumption depends, of course, on hospital’s human and technological resources.