Ruptured Spleen (Laceration)

Spleen

A ruptured spleen may occur following a direct blow to the left side of the stomach or back. This causes a tearing of the lining of the spleen and the tissues inside.

Symptoms of a Ruptured Spleen

  • Pain and tenderness in the upper abdomen.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain is sometimes referred to 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 palys a large role in protecting the body against infection, especially from the pneumococcal bacteria.