Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly) (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is an enlarged spleen?
- What are the causes of an enlarged spleen?
- What are the symptoms of an enlarged spleen?
- When should I seek medical care for an enlarged spleen?
- How is enlarged spleen diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for an enlarged spleen?
- What are the complications of an enlarged spleen?
- Can an enlarged spleen be prevented?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for an enlarged spleen?
- Enlarged Spleen At A Glance
What is the outlook (prognosis) for an enlarged spleen?
Depending upon the cause, the enlarged spleen may return to normal size and function when the underlying disease is treated or resolved.
- Commonly, in
infectious mononucleosis, the spleen returns to normal as the infection gets
- In some circumstances, removing the spleen is part of the treatment and
can make the person much more susceptible to infections.
- Many illnesses and diseases result with the enlarged spleen as a permanent physical finding and may result in only a fair prognosis because the person may be more prone to splenic injury, infections, and abnormal bleeding.
Enlarged Spleen At A Glance
- The spleen is responsible for filtering the blood and removing aged and
damaged cells. It is also a key part of the immune and lymph system of the body.
- An enlarged spleen is not normal and usually is a physical finding of an
underlying disease or illness.
- Blood tests may be used to help make the diagnosis of underlying diseases
that are associated with splenomegaly.
- Ultrasound, CT, and MRI can help measure the size of the spleen and also
look for associated abnormalities in the abdominal cavity.
- The treatment for an enlarged spleen is directed to the underlying illness. Splenectomy (removal of the spleen) may be part of that treatment.
REFERENCES: eMedicine.com; "Splenomegaly."
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. Braumwald E, Fauci AS, et al. 17th Edition. 2007. McGraw Hill.
Last Editorial Review: 12/9/2009 10:25:07 AM
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