Ruptured Spleen - Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Ruptured Spleen
The spleen weighs about 100g is roughly the same size as your fist, is shaped rather like an inverted pudding bowl, and is tucked under the last couple of ribs on your left side. Its functions are to remove damaged cells from the blood, store vital elements such as iron, store antibodies that the body develops after an infection, produce new white blood cells that fight off infection, and produce red blood cells to transport oxygen.
Causes of Ruptured Spleen
In a car or other accident, the chest may be squashed, and the spleen may be pierced by a rib or ruptured by the pressure.
Ruptured Spleen Symptoms
Pain in the lower left chest and upper left abdomen, weakness, shortness of breath and collapse.
Investigations of Ruptured Spleen
Ultrasound scan of the spleen may show damage. Free blood may be found in the abdominal cavity when a needle is pushed through the muscle wall.
Treatment of Ruptured Spleen
Repairing the spleen surgically is difficult as it is too friable, and as a result it is often necessary to remove it in order to stop bleeding.
Complications: Blood loss into the abdomen can be life-threatening.
Prognosis: Removal of the spleen is lifesaving and has remarkably little effect on an adult, as bone marrow can take over most of its functions. In babies the spleen is essential for the early formation of blood cells, and it is removed from children only in extreme circumstances.
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