In most cases a spleen rupture will not have been caused by a car accident however there is a significant proportion that is a direct result of motor vehicle collisions. If you have been injured in an accident and you want to make a compensation claim for personal injury and loss just complete the contact form, email our lawyers offices or use the solicitors helpline. Our spleen rupture solicitors offer advice at no cost without further obligation. If our spleen rupture solicitors deal with your claim it will be on a no win no fee basis, compensation is paid in full and you do not have to fund or finance your car accident compensation claim.
The spleen is well protected in the left upper abdominal quadrant by the ribcage. When there blunt or sharp trauma, however, you can get rupture of the spleen due to pressure on the spleen that transcends the ribcage. Blunt injuries to the spleen are among the most common abdominal injuries in accidents and falls and it is more common than liver lacerations or injuries. It is common from domestic violence injuries, motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries and bicycling injuries.
The main treatment of splenic injury is to remove the spleen. The first splenectomy was performed by a Dr. Rieigner in 1893. The mortality rate of the surgery was high until the 1950s, when innovations in surgery made it a much safer procedure. Non-operative care, on the other hand, was completely fatal as the spleen can bleed profusely unless clotting can occur. The advent of the CT scan made the diagnosis of splenic rupture of any size very easy and more people have been saved from a fatal haemorrhage.
The spleen weighs between 75 and 150 grams and is highly vascular. It filters about 10-15 percent of all of our blood supply each and every minute. It holds about 50 cc of red blood cells at any given point in time but can pool more blood if necessary. About 25 percent of our total platelet content is stored in the spleen at any given point in time. The spleen can be injured during blunt trauma or due to accidental injury during emergency operations or to other types of external lacerations, such as stabbings or gunshot injuries. All disrupt the capsule of the spleen, causing excessive bleeding and eventual exsanguination if not treated properly.
The incidence of splenic injury is unknown. At level I trauma centers, the incidence is about 25 percent of all blunt force traumatic injuries seen in the emergency room. This does not reflect the total number of injuries seen in smaller hospitals and at the scene of an accident. Blunt trauma reflects the vast majority of injuries seen to the spleen with penetrating trauma far less likely. Explosive injuries from bombs and wartime injuries are extremely rare. Injury can happen due to rapid deceleration of the body such as in motor vehicle accidents. Direct blows happen in falls, sports injuries and domestic violence injuries. Unfortunately, injuries to the spleen can happen in colonoscopies. The complication is rare but it carries a 4.5 percent mortality rate when it happens.
Symptoms of splenic rupture include pain in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen, bruising to the affected area, swelling in the abdomen, particularly in the right upper quadrant, and hypotension or shock. Shock can come on gradually but in a large rupture, shock can become a life threatening, sudden event. The person is often pale and has a low red blood cell count (is anemic). Because the blood can irritate the left phrenic nerve, it irritates the left shoulder. If there is free intra-peritoneal blood in body cavity of at least 5 to 10 percent of the total blood volume, signs of shock can begin to occur. There is a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, confusion, or dizziness. Low blood pressure is a surgical emergency that needs immediate care.
The diagnosis of splenic rupture should be considered anytime there has been blunt trauma and the individual is in shock or near shock. An ultrasound of the abdomen can define the presence of a splenic rupture. A CT scan of the abdomen can show splenic rupture, even if it is small. Laparoscopy can be performed on an urgent basis to see if there is any bleeding in either the spleen or the liver.
Treatment of splenic rupture used to be complete removal of the spleen. In today�s time, however, there is an increase in the desire to partially save the spleen. The amount of spleen saved depends on the degree of injury and how much bruising is seen in the residual spleen. Spleen-sparing surgery attempts to retain as much of the normal spleen as is possible. Angioembolism is a way of clotting the blood pouring from a small splenic rupture and works in situations where it is able to be done quickly and safely.
If you have suffered physically, mentally or financially, you should consider making an accident compensation claim. For telephone advice at no cost from specialist personal injury solicitors just call the helpline. Our spleen rupture solicitors will assess the strength of your claim and will advise you on your potential award of compensation without any further obligation.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here