What is Spleen and its Function?
• The spleen sits under the rib cage in the upper left part of the abdomen. It is an organ that is part of the lymph system and works as a drainage network that defends the body against infection.
• It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there.
• The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.
• A spleen is normally about the size of a fist. A doctor usually can't feel it during an exam.
• Accessory spleen: About 10% of people have a small extra spleen. This causes no problems and is considered normal.
What is Splenomegaly?
• Enlargement of Spleen.
• An enlarged spleen is not always a sign of a problem. When a spleen becomes enlarged, though, it often means it has been doing its job but has become overactive.
• For example, sometimes the spleen is overactive in removing and destroying blood cells. This is called hypersplenism. It can happen for many reasons, including problems with too many platelets and other disorders of the blood.
• Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count): An enlarged spleen sometimes stores excessive numbers of the body’s platelets. Splenomegaly can result in abnormally few platelets circulating in the bloodstream where they belong.
• The spleen is vulnerable to injury, and a ruptured spleen can cause serious life-threatening internal bleeding and is a life-threatening emergency.
• An injured spleen may rupture immediately after an injury, or in some cases, days or weeks after an injury.
• Viral infections, such as mononucleosis
• Parasitic infections, such as toxoplasmosis
• Bacterial infections, such as endocarditis- an infection of the heart's valves
• characterized by abnormal blood cells (i.e. Sickle cell anaemia)
• Leukaemia, a cancer in which white blood cells displace normal blood cells
• Lymphoma, a cancer of lymph tissue, such as Hodgkin's disease
• Inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis and rheumatoid arthritis
• Trauma, such as an injury during contact sports
• Cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the spleen
• A cyst, a noncancerous fluid-filled sac
• A large abscess, a pus-filled cavity usually caused by a bacterial infection
• Infiltrative diseases such as Gaucher's disease, amyloidosis, or glycogen storage diseases
Problems with the lymph system
Cirrhosis and other Liver diseases
• Being unable to eat a large meal
• Feeling discomfort, fullness, or pain on the upper left side of the abdomen; this pain may spread to the left shoulder
• Pain that is severe or gets worse when taking a deep breath
• Weight loss
• Frequent infections
• Easy bleeding
• Physical Examination
• Blood Biochemistries
• Ultrasound (USG)
• Computerized tomography (CT) scan
• Bone marrow Biopsy
• The spleen is removed by surgery, either through laparoscopy (multiple small incisions) or laparotomy (one large incision).
• Before and After spleen removal, its important to get vaccinations against certain bacteria, such as H. influenza and S. pneumonia. An absent spleen increases vulnerability to these infections.