Splenomegaly is an enlarged condition in the spleen organ. The spleen lies beneath the chest, behind the ribs arrangement to the left. In splenomegaly conditions, the spleen, which is naturally the size of a fist, may be a size between 11 cm and over 20 cm with a weight reaching or more than 1 kg. This condition can also affect the function of the spleen if not treated immediately. Some basic functions of the spleen may be impaired, namely the ability to filter healthy blood cells from damaged blood cells, and as storage of red blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells and platelets play a role in the blood clotting process. Excess red blood cell count in the spleen can clog the spleen, damage, or destroy some parts inside the spleen.
That way, splenomegaly can lead to other conditions that threaten the health of the patient, such as infection and bleeding easily.
The following diseases or infections that play a role in the development of splenomegaly conditions, among others:
- Viral infections, such as mononucleosis infections. In developing countries, infectious mononucleosis is the most common cause of splenomegaly.
- Parasitic infections, such as malaria.
- Bacterial infections, such as syphilis or endocarditis.
- Infiltration of lymph cancer cells in blood cancers (such as leukemia) and lymphomas (such as Hodgkin's disease).
- Cirrhosis and other conditions associated with liver organ.
- Various types of hemolytic anemia, ie conditions that cause the destruction of red blood cells.
- Metabolic disorders, such as Gaucher's disease and Niemann-Pick.
- Pressure or freezing that occurs in the blood vessels of the spleen, or liver.
In addition to the consequences of disease and infection, some additional risk factors are also encountered by certain groups that make them vulnerable to splenomegaly. These risk factors, among others:
- People living in the region or traveling to areas with a history of malaria epidemic spread.
- Patients with Gaucher's disease, Niemann-Pick, or other derivative metabolic disorders that may affect the condition of the spleen and liver organ.
- Children and adolescents who experience immune system disorders, neoplasia, hemolysis, or infections with mononucleosis.
Symptoms of Splenomegaly
Splenomegaly may not be accompanied by the appearance of symptoms in the patient. However, in some patients, it can be felt a lump in the upper left area of ??the abdomen and may cause pain. These lumps are risky extending toward the abdomen, chest, to the patient's left shoulder. Other symptoms that may be felt, among others:
- Feel full without cause or after eating food in small portions. This is caused by an enlarged spleen that depresses the abdominal area.
- More frequent infections due to disruption of lymph organ function.
- It is easier to bleed.
- Pain gets worse when breathing.
Diagnosis of Splenomegaly
Usually the doctor can feel an enlarged spleen at the time of physical examination. To ascertain the cause of splenomagali, the patient may perform blood tests, ultrasound, and organ imaging to get and confirm the splenomegaly diagnosis. Blood tests are performed to determine the number of different types of blood cells in the body, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Body imaging tests CT scans or ultrasound tests may be performed to determine the size of the spleen and to see the state of other organs depressed by the size of the enlarged spleen. Meanwhile, an MRI scan can be performed to find out how well the blood flow in the spleen.