Hypersplenism is an overactive spleen. The spleen is an organ found in the upper left side of your abdomen. The spleen helps filter old and damaged cells from your bloodstream. If your spleen is overactive, it removes the blood cells too early and too quickly.
The spleen plays a key role in helping your body fight infections. Problems with the spleen can make you more likely to develop infections.
Common causes of hypersplenism include:
- Cirrhosis (advanced liver disease)
- Various connective tissue and inflammatory diseases
- Enlarged spleen
- Low level of one or more types of blood cells
- Feeling full too soon after eating
- Stomach pain on the left side
Connell NT, Shurin SB, Schiffman FJ. The spleen and its disorders. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, Heslop HE, Weitz JI, Anastasi J, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2013:chap 162.
Ferri FF. Hyperspleenism. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor2016. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:p 665.
Spleen - illustration
The spleen is an organ involved in the production and maintenance of red blood cells, the production of certain circulating white blood cells, as a part of the lymph system, and as a part of the immune system
Review Date: 5/4/2015
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.