Splenic injury following colonoscopy--an underdiagnosed, but soon to increase, phenomenon?

J.R. Skipworth, D.A. Raptis, J.S. Rawal, S.W. Olde Damink, A. Shankar, M. Malago, C. Imber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    INTRODUCTION: We present a case of splenic rupture in a 71-year-old woman admitted 6 days following a diagnostic colonoscopy. She underwent an open splenectomy and made a delayed, but complete, recovery. We proceeded to perform a retrospective review of all relevant literature to assess the frequency of similar post-colonoscopy complications. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using relevant keywords, we identified 63 further PubMed reports of splenic injury associated with colonoscopy that were reported in English. FINDINGS: We have described only the fourth report of splenic injury secondary to colonoscopy from a UK centre. Literature review reveals a mean age of 63 years and a female preponderance for this complication. Most patients present on the day of their colonoscopy with abdominal pain, anaemia, elevated white cell count and Kehr's sign. CT is the investigation of choice and splenectomy the definitive management of choice. Most patients make a routine recovery, with mortality rates of approximately 8%. There is likely to be an under-reporting of this complication from UK-based centres, with the majority of reports originating from Europe and US. This points to a possible under-diagnosis or under-recognition of this potentially fatal complication. The incidence of such post-colonoscopic complications may increase with the forthcoming introduction of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)W6-11
    JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

    Cite this