Race and insurance status outcome disparities following splenectomy in trauma patients are reduced in larger hospitals. A cross-sectional study

Harrison J. Kaplan, I. Michael Leitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Splenectomy, still a commonly performed treatment for splenic injury in trauma patients, has been shown to have a high rate of complications. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors, including race and insurance status, associated with adverse outcomes post-splenectomy in trauma patients. We discuss possible explanations and methods for reducing these disparities. Methods: The American College of Surgeons – Trauma Quality Improvement Program (ACS-TQIP) participant user database was queried from 2010 to 2015 and patients who underwent total splenectomy were identified. All mechanisms of injury, including both blunt and penetrating trauma, were included. Patients with advance directives limiting care or aged under 18 were excluded. Propensity score matching was used to control for age, preexisting medical conditions, and the severity of the traumatic injury. A chi-squared test was used to find significant associations between available predictors and outcomes for this cross-sectional study. Results: The post-splenectomy mortality rate was 9.2% (n = 1047), 8.0% (n = 918) of patients had three or more complications, and 20.3% (n = 2315) had major complications. A primary race of white (OR 0.7, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.6–0.9, p < 0.01) and private insurance (OR 0.5, 95%CI 0.4–0.6, p < 0.01) were associated with lower risks of mortality A primary race of neither Black nor white (OR 1.3, 95%CI 1.03–1.7, p = 0.03) and a lack of health insurance (“self-pay”) (OR 1.6, 95%CI 1.3–1.9, p < 0.01) were both correlated with mortality. When limited to hospitals of 600+ beds, there were no associations between race and mortality. Conclusion: The post-splenectomy mortality rate after trauma remains high. In U.S. trauma centers, a primary race of Black and payment status of “self-pay” are associated with adverse outcomes after splenectomy following a traumatic injury. These disparities are reduced when limiting analysis to larger hospitals. Efforts to reduce disparities in outcomes among trauma patients requiring a splenectomy should focus on improving resource availability and quality in smaller hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103516
JournalAnnals of Medicine and Surgery
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Insurance
  • Race
  • Spleen
  • Splenectomy
  • Trauma


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