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Imaging and transcatheter arterial embolization for traumatic splenic injuries: review of the literature.

The spleen is the most commonly injured visceral organ in blunt abdominal trauma in both adults and children. Nonoperative management is the current standard of practice for patients who are hemodynamically stable. However, simple observation alone has been reported to have a failure rate as high as 34%; the rate is even higher among patients with high-grade splenic injuries (American Association for the Surgery of Trauma [AAST] grade III-V). Over the past decade, angiography with transcatheter splenic artery embolization, an alternative nonoperative treatment for splenic injuries, has increased splenic salvage rates to as high as 97%. With the help of splenic artery embolization, success rates of more than 80% have also been described for high-grade splenic injuries. We discuss the role of computed tomography and transcatheter splenic artery embolization in the diagnosis and treatment of blunt splenic trauma. We review technical considerations, indications, efficacy and complication rates. We also propose an algorithm to guide the use of angiography and splenic embolization in patients with traumatic splenic injury.

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