Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Splenic Rupture

Spleh-nik rup-chur

Definition

The spleen is an organ that helps filter the blood. It also makes white blood cells that make proteins to fight infection. A splenic rupture is a tear or split that can lead to bleeding inside the body.

Spleen
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Causes ^

Trauma is a common cause of a splenic rupture. The spleen tissue may also be harmed if there is abnormal tissue growth or infection.

Risk Factors ^

Factors that may raise your risk are:

  • Inflammatory health problems, such as pancreatitis
  • Certain therapies and medicines, such as blood thinning medicine

Symptoms ^

You may have:

  • Left shoulder pain
  • Belly pain

Diagnosis ^

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Pictures may need to be taken. This can be done with:

Treatment ^

Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. This will be based on how badly your spleen has ruptured. The goal is to keep all or part of the spleen. You may have:

Close Monitoring

Some injuries may heal on their own with rest. Close monitoring in the hospital will most likely be needed. Blood transfusions may also be needed.

Procedures

Surgery may be needed if the spleen is very damaged. When possible the spleen will be repaired. If not, a part or all of the spleen may need to be removed. As much of the tissue will be spared as possible because the spleen helps protect the body against bacterial infections. Removing the spleen should be avoided in children and the elderly, since they have weaker immune systems.

Prevention ^

A splenic rupture can’t be prevented.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

Trauma.org
http://www.trauma.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

Trauma Association of Canada
http://www.traumacanada.org

REFERENCES:

Splenic injury. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/abdominal-trauma/splenic-injury. Updated January 2018. Accessed July 17, 2018.

Splenic injury. University of Connecticut website. Available at: http://ksi.uconn.edu/emergency-conditions/internal-trauma/splenic-injury. Accessed July 17, 2018.

Splenic injury and rupture. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116823/Splenic-injury-and-rupture. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed July 17, 2018.

Splenic trauma. Radiopaedia.org website. Available at: http://radiopaedia.org/articles/splenic-trauma. Accessed July 17, 2018.

Last reviewed June 2018 by James Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 7/18/18