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Splenomegaly

Definition

Splenomegaly is a larger-than-normal spleen.

Alternative Names

Spleen enlargement; Enlarged spleen; Spleen swelling

Considerations

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

Many health conditions can affect the spleen. These include:

Symptoms of splenomegaly include:

Causes

Splenomegaly can be caused by any of the following:

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

There are usually no symptoms from an enlarged spleen. Some people have pain in the left upper part of the belly area (abdomen). You should seek 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 ask about your symptoms and medical history.

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

Tests that may be done include:

References

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


Review Date: 2/24/2014
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. 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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