Adherence to vaccination guidelines post splenectomy: A five year follow up study

Following a splenectomy patients are at increased risk of significant infections. In its most severe form, overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI) has a mortality rate of up to 80%. In this study we aim to establish the adherence to vaccination and antibiotic national guidelines in splenectomised patients. A retrospective study of 100 patients who underwent splenectomy (21 emergency, 79 elective), in two teaching hospitals was undertaken over a five-year period. Patients were followed up for five years. Hospital and GP records were reviewed for adherence to pre, intra and postoperative vaccination, thromboprophylaxis and antibiotic guidance. Eighty-six eligible patients (91.5%) received their Haemophilus influenzae B, meningococcal C and pneumococcus vaccinations peri-operatively. Eighty-one (86%) received post-operative antibiotics. Ninety-nine percent of patients received thromboprophylaxis treatment. Eighty-nine (95%) were treated with long-term antibiotic prophylaxis. Only 20 patients (23%) had an emergency supply of antibiotics. Ninety-five percent of patients were administered an annual influenza vaccination and 84% of eligible patients received a five-year pneumococcal booster vaccination. Improvement in the management of this patient cohort can be achieved by a multidisciplinary approach involving adherence to national guidelines, standardised trust protocols, patient information leaflets and advice detailing risk of infection, standardised GP letters and a splenectomy register to monitor and manage this vulnerable group of patients.