The spleen is an organ which is located in the upper left side of the abdomen. It helps the body to fight against certain bacterial infections.
Asplenia (without a spleen) may be congenital (born without a spleen) or because of splenectomy.
Splenectomy (removal of spleen) is done for many different reasons. Examples include trauma to the spleen, enlarged spleen as a result of certain medical conditions (such as Thalassaemia, Hereditary Spherocytosis). The enlarged spleen can cause problems such as discomfort, rupture, or pooling and destruction of blood cells in the enlarged spleen (known as ‘hypersplenism’).
When your child has undergone splenectomy or if he/ she is functionally asplenic, you will need to seek prompt medical attention if your child has a fever, especially if associated with shivering or shaking and feels dizzy or faint.
You should inform your doctor that your child has undergone splenectomy or if he/ she is functionally asplenic.
Most infections can be avoided through these measures:
Antibiotic Prophylaxis (prevention)
The information above on Asplenia is also available for download in pdf format.
The spleen makes up a part of the immune system in our body.
Without a spleen, your child (especially if below 2 years of age) may have an increased risk of developing some serious infections. One of the complications is called overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI). Even though the risk is small and OPSI is uncommon, it can be very serious, rapidly progressive and even life-threatening if it occurs.
Without a spleen, your child is at risk for severe infections, primarily from bacteria such as pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae), Haemophilus influenzae Type B, and meningococcus (Neisseria meningitidis).
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