Ruptured Spleen

What is a Ruptured Spleen?

The spleen is considered one of the most important organs in the system.  The spleen filters bacteria from the blood, stores and recycles old blood cells. It assists the immune system with fighting infection.

A Ruptured spleen is usually the result of an injury to the abdominal or chest area such as a motor vehicle accident, fall from a height or significant hit while playing contact sports.  When the spleen is ruptured, it has the potential to cause internal bleeding.

Anyone experiencing a possible injured spleen must be given immediate urgent medical attention.  Some blood related illnesses such as  hemolytic anemia  and certain types of lymphoma can also cause a Ruptured spleen.

What are the Symptoms of a Ruptured Spleen?

A mild bruise may cause no symptoms of a Ruptured spleen or only some mild tenderness of the abdominal area. Symptoms of a severely injured and bruised spleen may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin color
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Nausea
  • Pain in upper left abdominal area that radiates up to the left shoulder and left side of neck

How is a Ruptured Spleen Treated?

If an examination and testing shows no evidence of injuries beyond a bruise, treatment will likely be rest and regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider.  Restrictions on physical activity will likely be placed on the patient.  Hospital admission may be required in order to monitor your vitals.

Surgery may be required if:

  • You have abdominal bleeding.
  • You experience symptoms of blood loss or low blood pressure.

A Ruptured spleen may leak blood slowly.  Because of this, it might take time for symptoms of blood loss to appear. Because of the significant risks of blood loss due to a ruptured spleen, you may require exploratory surgery in order to ensure the spleen is not ruptured.

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Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
August 23, 2017