The spleen is a fist-sized organ next to the stomach and is under the left ribcage. Though the average size of the spleen is 4 inches, it varies from person-person.
It performs vital functions in the body.
- The spleen filters blood to remove damaged RBC or Red Blood Cells.
- It helps fight infections since it carries white blood cells or WBC
- Spleen stores and releases immune cells to reduce tissue inflammation.
- Speen regulates the RBC, WBC, and platelets levels in the blood.
What is a Ruptured Spleen?
A ruptured spleen is a medical condition caused by the bursting of the surface of the spleen. Damaging the spleen is difficult since the rib cage plays a crucial role in protecting it.
Though the spleen plays a vital role in the body’s defense, a person can survive without it in case of extensive damages. A ruptured spleen can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Causes of Ruptured Spleen
The two prominent causes for ruptured spleen are injuries and enlarged spleen.
- Injuries to the spleen by vehicular accidents, sports accidents, or assault are the leading cause of the ruptured spleen.
- Enlarged spleen: When the spleen is not functioning well, it will store blood, leading to an enlarged spleen. An enlarged spleen is more susceptible to damage. A slight injury might then cause a ruptured spleen.
Other causes leading to rupturing of the spleen are:
- Liver diseases
- Metabolic disorders
And Also Read more about Liver diseases.
Ruptured Spleen Symptoms
The occurrence of signs of a ruptured spleen varies in duration depending on the intensity of the injury. The key symptoms are intense pain in the left abdomen region and the left shoulder.
Variations in blood pressure cause other symptoms of the spleen injury, including the delayed symptoms because of the rupturing.
- Blurred Vision
- Rapid heart rate
- Tenderness in the area
Diagnosis of Ruptured Spleen
Various means to determine a ruptured spleen are:
- Physical exam: The doctor performs a physical exam to determine the size of the spleen by gently pressing in the area. This method identifies an enlarged spleen almost immediately.
- Blood tests: To measure the performance of the spleen, doctors advise blood tests. Platelet counts and the clotting factor evaluates how well the spleen is functioning
- Abdominal Cavity Scan: A clear sign of the ruptured spleen is blood in the abdomen cavity. An ultrasound scan is a sure means of determining the same. In case of emergency, the doctor might insert a needle into the abdomen and draw fluid samples. The presence of blood in the fluid sample shows a ruptured spleen.
Ruptured Spleen Treatment
The treatment for the ruptured spleen varies according to the severity. The human body can heal itself from minor injuries given enough time. Even then, the patient is under constant monitoring since they might require blood transfusions until the organ heals completely.
If the injury is critical and the doctor feels the damage is irreversible, they perform emergency ruptured spleen surgery to either repair or remove the spleen.
Surgical options to treat the ruptured spleen include:
- Repairing of Spleen: The procedure involves mending the tear by applying pressure on the spleen or blood vessels until blood clots. If doctors can identify the condition immediately when the rupture occurs, doctors perform arterial embolization to hasten the blood clotting process.
- Removing a Part of Spleen: Doctors identify the damaged areas in the spleen and perform partial splenectomy. The laparoscopic procedure reduces the risks of infection.
- Splenectomy: Removal of the entire spleen in a case of extensive damage is splenectomy. Since the spleen fights infections, removal of the organ will make the person susceptible to infections. Hence, doctors strongly advise the patients to take vaccines to help the body cope with this loss. Children are usually at higher risk of infection than adults because of obvious reasons.
Recovery time from Ruptured Spleen Treatment
The recovery time from the ruptured spleen depends on the intensity of the treatment. In case of no surgery, the patient is under constant monitoring and has to make lifestyle changes.
If an operation is performed, doctors prescribe pain relief medications and antibiotics to prevent pain and infections.
Complete recovery usually takes weeks, and often months, based on the age of the patient as well. If the condition is identified early, then the survival rate of patients with the ruptured spleen is high. In case of late diagnosis, there are complications associated with the treatment.
Take extra precautions and monitor your health closely in the recovery phase. Reach out to your doctor for more details on post-operative care and the necessary changes to alter your lifestyle to suit the current body conditions.