Ruptured Spleen (Laceration)

Ruptured Spleen

A ruptured spleen may occur following a direct blow to the left side of the stomach or back. This will often be from road accidents, contact sports, or physical fights. The impact tears the lining of the spleen and the tissues inside which can make the abdomen painful. Medical help will be needed as it causes internal bleeding.

Symptoms of a Ruptured Spleen

  • Pain and tenderness in the upper abdomen.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain is sometimes referred to as the left shoulder.

If bleeding is rapid, symptoms of shock develop quickly. These include:

  • Light-headedness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of consciousness,

Causes

The spleen is located in the left side of the abdomen, below the diaphragm and under the ribs. The most common causes of a ruptured spleen include road traffic accidents, injuries in contact sports and from physical attacks or fights.

Treatment

  • Medical attention should be sought immediately as internal bleeding can be fatal.
  • The patient will be put on a drip to maintain circulation to the organs.
  • A blood transfusion may be given to replace lost blood.
  • Surgery is required to stop the bleeding.
  • Usually, the entire spleen will be removed in an operation called a splenectomy.
  • Occasionally, when the tear is only small, the surgeon may be able to fix the tear.
  • If the spleen is removed, it is important that the patient has an injection to vaccinate them against pneumococcal infection as the spleen plays a large role in protecting the body against infection, especially from the pneumococcal bacteria.
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