Al-Salem, AH. Splenectomy for Children With Thalassemia: Total or Partial Splenectomy, Open or Laparoscopic Splenectomy

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. 2016; 38:1-4.

Abstract: Splenomegaly and hypersplenism are common complications among children with thalassemia necessitating splenectomy. Thirty-six children (27 [beta]-thalassemia major, 3 Hb H disease, and 6 thalassemia intermediate) had total splenectomy (11 laparoscopic and 13 open splenectomy) or partial splenectomy (12 patients). In the partial splenectomy group, 2 with Hb H required no transfusions. For those with [beta]-thalassemia major who had partial splenectomy (9 patients), there was a reduction in the number of transfusions from a preoperative mean of 15.2 transfusions per year to a postoperative mean of 8.2 transfusions per year. Subsequently and as a result of increase in the size of splenic remnant, their transfusions increased, but none required total splenectomy. Twenty-four patients had total splenectomy (13 open and 11 laparoscopic splenectomy). Their postsplenectomy transfusions decreased from a preoperative mean of 17.8 transfusions per year to a postoperative mean of 10 transfusions per year. There was no mortality, and none developed postoperative sepsis or thrombotic complications. Total splenectomy is beneficial for children with [beta]-thalassemia major and hypersplenism by reducing their transfusion requirements. Laparoscopic splenectomy is however more beneficial. Partial splenectomy reduces their transfusion requirements, but only as a temporary measure, and so it is recommended for children younger than 5 years of age.


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