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    Splenomegaly

    Spleen enlargement; Enlarged spleen; Spleen swelling

    Splenomegaly is a larger-than-normal spleen.

    Considerations

    The spleen is an organ that is a part of the lymph system. It filters the blood and maintains healthy red and white blood cells and platelets.

    Many health conditions can affect the spleen. This includes:

    • Diseases of the blood or lymph system
    • Infections
    • Cancer
    • Liver disease

    Symptoms of splenomegaly include:

    • Hiccups
    • Inability to eat a large meal
    • Pain on the upper left side of the abdomen

    Causes

    • Infections
      • Bacterial infections
      • Cat scratch disease
      • Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus)
      • Other viral infections
      • Parasitic infections
    • Diseases involving the liver
      • Biliary atresia
      • Cirrhosis (alcoholic cirrhosis)
      • Cystic fibrosis
      • Portal hypertension
      • Portal vein obstruction
      • Sclerosing cholangitis
    • Blood diseases
      • Hemoglobinopathies
      • Hemolytic anemia due to G6PD deficiency
      • Idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia
      • Immune hemolytic anemia
      • Myelodysplastic syndrome
      • Polycythemia vera
      • Thalassemia
    • Cancer
    • Hodgkin's disease
    • Leukemia
    • Lymphoma
    • Other causes
    • Felty syndrome
    • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Sickle cell splenic crisis

    Home Care

    It is important to prevent injury that might cause the spleen to rupture. You should avoid contact sports.

    Your doctor or nurse will tell you what else you need to do to take care of yourself and any medical condition.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Thereare usually no symptoms from an enlarged spleen. However, some people havepain in the left upper section of the belly area.You should medical help right away if it is severe or gets worse when you take a deep breath.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The health care provider will askquestions about your symptoms and medical history.

    A physical exam will be done. This will include feeling your abdomen (belly area). The health care provider will tap (percuss) along the left upper part of your abdomen and feel (palpate) in that same area, especially just under the rib cage.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Abdominal x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan
    • Blood tests such as a CBC and tests of your liver function

    This list is not all-inclusive.

    References

    Armitage JO. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 171.

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    • Splenomegaly

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    • Enlarged spleen

      illustration

      • Splenomegaly

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      • Enlarged spleen

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      Tests for Splenomegaly

        Review Date: 2/19/2012

        Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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