Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
The spleen enlarges if it is asked to do excessive work in filtering or
manufacturing blood cells, if there is abnormal blood flow to it, or if it is
invaded with abnormal cells or deposits.
Abnormal red blood cells: Since the spleen filters abnormal blood cells and removes them from the
circulatory system, diseases that result in abnormal red cells will cause the
spleen to enlarge. Sickle cell disease,
spherocytosis are examples of
diseases that form unusually shaped cells that cannot easily maneuver through
the small blood vessels and capillaries of the body. If they are not removed by
the spleen, these abnormal cells can cause
blood clots and decrease circulation.
However, removing them causes the spleen to swell and enlarge.
Viral and bacterial infection: The spleen is involved in making cells
that fight infection and part of that response is to enlarge. This is commonly
seen in viral infections such as
infectious mononucleosis (caused by the Epstein Barr virus),
hepatitis. Examples of bacterial infections associated with splenomegaly include
tuberculosis, malaria, and
anaplasmosis (formerly known as ehrlichiosis).
Splenic vein pressure/blockage: Blood enters the spleen through the splenic artery and leaves through the
splenic vein. If the pressure within the vein increases or if the splenic vein
becomes blocked, blood cannot leave the spleen and it may swell. Because of the
relationship to liver blood flow, cirrhosis and portal vein obstruction can
cause complications with venous blood flow from the spleen. Congestive heart failure
may cause both the liver and spleen to swell because of increased venous
Author: Richard Weil, M.Ed., CDE Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
Viewer Question: Can you suggest some safe core exercises for someone with an enlarged spleen?
Expert's Answer: Check with your doctor before you do any of these exercises. An enlarged spleen can be serious, and your doctor should give you the okay before you start any exercise program.
"Core" exercises have been the buzzword for some time. Although humans have been using their core muscles since the beginning of time, exercise scientists, physical therapists, fitness trainers, and others have recently been pushing the virtues of exercising the core. What is the core? The core is loosely defined as the spine, abdomen, pelvis, and hips, and the muscles that support these structures for posture and movement.