A systematic review of splenic injuries during colonoscopies: Evolving trends in presentation and management.

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INTRODUCTION: Although uncommon, the incidence of splenic injury from colonoscopy has been increasing significantly since first being reported in 1974. Early recognition is critical because mortality may be as high as 5%.

METHODS: We systematically searched PubMed and EMBASE to identify English-language cases of splenic injury from colonoscopy from inception until January 26, 2015. We used descriptive statistics to characterize the identified cases.

RESULTS: A total of 172 cases from 122 reports were included. The mean age was 64 years and 70.8% were females. Prior abdominal or pelvic surgeries were identified in 63.8%. 57.3% of patients underwent polypectomies or biopsies. There was a statistically significant increase in use of computerized tomography for diagnosis in the past 5 years (81.8% versus 65.2%). 76.1% patients received transfusions. Mean inpatient length of stay was 7.83 ± 5.32 days. A non-significant trend toward conservative management was noted in the past 5 years (37.7% versus 23.1%), and a non-significant drop in mortality was noted (4.9% versus 5.4%).

DISCUSSION: Our data support prior literature suggesting a higher incidence of splenic injuries during colonoscopies in females, advanced age, prior history of abdominal/pelvic surgeries and biopsies/polypectomies during the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS: Significant mortality associated with splenic injuries during colonoscopies warrants prompt recognition of this potentially life threatening, albeit uncommon, complication.

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Int J Surg

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