Acute and chronic hematologic implications of emergency and elective splenectomy

Kathleen E. Singer, Aron P. Bercz, Mackenzie C. Morris, Nora C. Elson, Taylor E. Wallen, Dennis Hanseman, Timothy A. Pritts, Vanessa Nomellini, Sameer H. Patel, Amy T. Makley, Michael D. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Thrombocytosis and leukocytosis are common after splenectomy. The potential effect of emergency surgery on these postoperative findings is unknown. We hypothesized that emergency splenectomy leads to a more profound and persistent hematologic change as compared to elective splenectomy. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of patients who underwent elective or trauma splenectomy. Records were queried for platelet (PLT) and white blood cell (WBC) count prior to splenectomy, on postoperative days 1-5, and at day 14, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Complications, including thromboembolic events, infection, need for repeat operation, and readmission within 30 days of discharge, were recorded. Results: 463 patients were identified as being eligible for the study, with 173 patients in the elective cohort and 145 patients in each of the isolated trauma splenectomy and polytrauma cohorts. Both cohorts had peak thrombocytosis at week 2 postoperatively. However, polytrauma patients had a significantly higher peak platelet count (P < 0.01). The PLT:WBC ratio was lower in both trauma cohorts pre-operatively and postoperative day 1. Trauma splenectomy had a higher PLT:WBC ratio on days 2 and 3 whereas polytrauma had a lower ratio on days 4 and 5. Emergency cases had greater reoperation and infection rates, whereas elective cases were more likely to require readmission. Postoperative thromboembolic events were only higher in the polytrauma cohort. Conclusions: While trauma splenectomy resulted in more profound postoperative leukocytosis and thrombocytosis, there was no correlation with timing of infection or risk of thromboembolic events. These findings suggest that thrombocytosis and leukocytosis may be associated with thrombotic and infectious events but their presence alone does not indicate direct risks of concomitant infection or thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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