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Non-Op Management of Solid Organ Injuries: An APSA Review

The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) guidelines for the treatment of isolated solid organ injury (SOI) in children were published in 2000 and have been widely adopted. The aim of this systematic review by the APSA Outcomes and Evidence Based Practice Committee was to evaluate the published evidence regarding treatment of solid organ injuries in children.


A comprehensive search strategy was crafted and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines were utilized to identify, review, and report salient articles. Four principal questions were examined based upon the previously published consensus APSA guidelines regarding length of stay (LOS), activity level, interventional radiologic procedures, and follow-up imaging. A literature search was performed including multiple databases from 1996 to 2016.


LOS for children with isolated solid organ injuries should be based upon clinical findings and may not be related to grade of injury. Total LOS may be less than recommended by the previously published APSA guidelines. Restricting activity to grade of injury plus two weeks is safe but shorter periods of activity restriction have not been adequately studied. Prophylactic embolization of SOI in stable patients with image-confirmed arterial extravasation is not indicated and should be reserved for patients with evidence of ongoing bleeding. Routine follow-up imaging for asymptomatic, uncomplicated, low-grade injured children with abdominal blunt trauma is not warranted. Limited data are available to support the need for follow-up imaging for high grade injuries.


Based upon review of the recent literature, we recommend an update to the current APSA guidelines that includes: hospital length of stay based on physiology, shorter activity restrictions may be safe, minimizing post-injury imaging for lower injury grades and embolization only in patients with evidence of ongoing hemorrhage.

Type of Study

Systematic Review.

Levels of Evidence

Levels 2–4.

Visual abstract created by Alejandra M Casar Berazaluce, MD - Pediatric Surgery Research Fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

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