Splenic function is not maintained long-term after partial splenectomy in children with sickle cell disease

Yousef El-Gohary, Sidrah Khan, Erica Hodgman, Lynn Wynn, Amy Kimble, Abdelhafeez Abdelhafeez, Lindsay Talbot, Winfred Wang, Andrew M. Davidoff, Andrew J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Partial splenectomy (PS) may allow preservation of splenic function in cases where splenectomy is indicated for hematologic diseases; however, the long-term outcomes are uncertain. We investigated the long-term outcomes of PS in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Methods: A single-institution retrospective chart review was performed for children with SCD who underwent PS from 1997 to 2017. For comparison, we reviewed outcomes for patients who underwent PS for hereditary spherocytosis (HS). The primary endpoint was viability of the splenic remnant as inferred by the presence of remnant perfusion on ultrasound and/or liver spleen scan. Results: Nine patients with SCD and 26 patients with HS underwent PS at a median age of 11 (IQR, 9–14) and 7.5 (IQR, 6–13) years, respectively. All underwent laparoscopic PS with three (7.9%) conversions to open. Two SCD patients were lost to long-term follow-up. The remaining seven SCD patients had initial postoperative splenic remnant perfusion demonstrated by ultrasonography. By 42 months postoperatively, however, none had a functioning splenic remnant. The median time to loss of splenic remnant was 12.6 (IQR 9.2–28.5) months. In contrast, all HS patients demonstrated robust splenic remnant blood flow with a median follow-up of 46 (IQR 37–82) months. Conclusion: No patient with SCD who underwent PS had viable splenic tissue for more than 42 months, likely due to continued autoinfarction typical of patients with this disease. Therefore, we believe that PS to preserve splenic function is not indicated in patients with SCD. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2471-2474
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Hereditary spherocytosis
  • Partial splenectomy
  • Sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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