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Clinical Findings in Patients with Splenic Injuries: Are Injuries to the Left Lower Chest Important?

  • Author(s): Schneir, Aaron
  • Holmes, James F
  • et al.
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical findings in patients with splenic injury and to determine if isolated left lower chest injury may be the single clinical indicator of splenic injury. The medical records of all adult blunt trauma patients with splenic injury over a 14 month period were reviewed. Significant left lower chest injury was considered present if the patient had left sided pleuritic chest pain with tenderness to ribs 7-12 or if these ribs were visualized as fractured on any imaging study. Patients were considered to have clinical findings suggestive of splenic injury if they had pre-hospital or emergency department hypotension, abdominal pain or tenderness, a Glasgow coma scale < 15, or gross hematuria. Ninety patients had splenic injury. Thirty-nine (43%. 95% CI 33, 54%) patients had significant left lower chest injury. In five (6%. 95% CI 2, 12%) patients, injury to this portion of the chest was the single indicator of splenic injury. Nearly half the patients with splenic injury will have significant injury to the left lower chest and this finding may be the only indicator of splenic injury.

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