Non-operative management of malarial splenic rupture: The Khartoum experience and an international review

Mohamed F. Osman, Isam M. Elkhidir, Selwyn O. Rogers, Mallory Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Malarial splenic rupture (MSR) occurs in a subset of patients and can be an acute surgical emergency. MSR is a well-known entity for more than 100 years, yet there are no well-structured studies in the literature that systematically evaluate this complication. While it has become increasingly recognized that splenic salvage can be vital to the long term immunity and health of these patients, there are few data to guide a safe approach to non-operative management of these patients. Current knowledge of spontaneous rupture of the spleen has been gained largely though reported cases. We present 2 cases of MSR and a review of the literature of the management of MSR. We present an algorithm for the management of MSR. Of the 60 cases of MSR in the literature 31 were managed with splenectomy, 21 were managed non-operatively, and 8 early deaths occurred during initial presentation. The most common presenting symptoms were fever (67%) and abdominal pain (51%). Seventy-two percent of patients were hypotensive and tachycardic on presentation. Fifteen (71%) of 21 patients had successful non-operative management for MSR. Of the six patients that failed non-operative treatment, 4 patients eventually needed splenectomy, and 2 patients died without operation. We recommend that patients presenting with fever, abdominal pain, hypotension, and spenomegaly receive urgent resuscitation, ultrasonography (where available) to evaluate for blood in the abdomen, and surgical consultation. Patients who are hemodynamically stable before or after resuscitation can be selectively chosen for non-operative management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-414
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Conservative
  • Hyperactive malarial syndrome
  • Malaria
  • Management
  • Non-operative
  • Rupture
  • Spleen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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