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Enlarged Spleen (cont.)

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What is the treatment for an enlarged spleen?

Because splenomegaly is due to another underlying illness, treatment will depend upon the primary cause. In some situations, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be part of the treatment. For example, in hereditary spherocytosis, misshapen red blood cells are filtered from the blood stream causing anemia and an enlarged spleen. Splenectomy limits the number of red blood cells destroyed and helps treat the disease.

What complications are associated with an enlarged spleen?

Perhaps the most important worry with an enlarged spleen is the risk of injury as it grows beyond the protection of the rib cage. A minor injury may cause it to fracture and bleed. Spleen injuries are often treated by observation, but on occasion, the spleen can rupture causing life-threatening internal bleeding.

All types of blood cells may become trapped in a large spleen. Anemia (low red blood cell count) may cause weakness, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) may be associated with an increased risk of bleeding. Leukopenia (low white blood cell count) may be associated with an increased risk of infection.

Should the spleen need to be removed, the risk of certain infections increases, and the patient who undergoes splenectomy will need to make certain that their immunizations are up to date, especially against pneumococcus, meningococcus and haemophilus influenzae.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/enlarged_spleen/article.htm

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