Splenectomy is associated with higher infection and pneumonia rates among trauma laparotomy patients

Kelly A. Fair, Christopher R. Connelly, Kyle D. Hart, Martin A. Schreiber, Jennifer Watters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Splenectomy increases lifetime risk of thromboembolism (VTE) and is associated with long-term infectious complications, primarily, overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI). Our objective was to evaluate risk of VTE and infection at index hospitalization post-splenectomy. Retrospective review of all patients who received a laparotomy in the NTDB. Propensity score matching for splenectomy was performed, based on ISS, abdominal abbreviated injury score >3, GCS, sex and mechanism. Major complications, VTE, and infection rates were compared. Multiple logistic regression models were utilized to evaluate splenectomy-associated complications. 93,221 laparotomies were performed and 17% underwent splenectomy. Multiple logistic regression models did not demonstrate an association between splenectomy and major complications (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.91–1.03, p = 0.25) or VTE (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.96–1.14, p = 0.33). Splenectomy was independently associated with infection (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00–1.14, p = 0.045). Subgroup analysis of patients with infection demonstrated that splenectomy was most strongly associated with pneumonia (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.26–1.57, p < 0.001). Splenectomy is not associated with higher overall complication or VTE rates during index hospitalization. However, splenectomy is associated with a higher rate of pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)856-861
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Splenectomy
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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