Delayed Splenic Rupture; Normal Appearing Spleen on the Initial Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) Can Sometimes Be Misleading




Introduction: Delayed splenic rupture (DSR) is an unusual outcome following blunt abdominal trauma. Although DSR is defined as bleeding more than 48 hours after blunt trauma in a previously hemodynamically stable patient, a review of the reported cases in the literature shows that in almost all of the cases the initial CT imaging revealed some form of damage to the spleen. Case Presentation: Here we describe an extremely rare condition in a case that presented with a DSR following blunt trauma and had a normal appearing spleen in the initial post trauma MDCT scan. Conclusions: DSR is a serious consequence of trauma and is associated with a significantly higher mortality rate compared with the overall mortality for acute splenic injuries. A High index of suspicion along with the liberal serial utilization of the imaging studies are the essential elements for early detection of DSR.We propose that DSR be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients presenting with hemodynamic instability late post trauma, even when the immediate post trauma MDCT scan has shown a normal appearing spleen. We suggest that every patient with a high impact injury or injuries to peri-splenic organs should have a repeat MDCT scan 2 - 3 days post trauma or before the patients is discharged from hospital.