Paper| Volume 26, ISSUE 1, P43-46, January 1995

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Patterns of splenic injuries seen in skiers

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      Splenic rupture secondary to skiing appears to fall into two distinct epidemiological patterns: high-speed impact with stationary objects and simple falls (mogul injury). Of 18 splenic injuries seen at a referral hospital over 12 years, six were high-speed collisions with trees, lift towers or other solid objects. Twelve were low-speed falls impacting on moguls, the ski trail or low-speed impact with a trailside object (stump or rock). Those who sustained low-speed injuries frequently skied down the mountain afterwards without assistance (Math Eq), and had no other significant concomitant injuries other than minor renal contusions compared with the collision group (P < 0.005). The rate of splenic salvage was also higher in this group than in the collision group (68 per cent vs 17 per cent). The six high-speed collision splenic injury victims were all transported down the mountain by toboggan, and all had significant associated injuries. The incidence of concomitant renal injuries with splenic injuries in both groups was higher than in other reported series (10 of 18 patients). Some of those who skied down the mountain themselves sought medical attention only when they experienced haematuria. There were no significant differences in the length of stay in hospital, or intensive care units (ICU), or transfusion requirements or complications between groups. It is suggested that those who ski down the mountain themselves and present in a delayed fashion to medical/first aid facilities may still have serious abdominal injury but have a potentially higher rate of spleen salvage.
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