What Are the Complications of Enlarged Spleen?

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Ask the experts

I have an enlarged spleen with varices and I would like to know if this is something I should worry about.

Doctor's response

An enlarged spleen always is abnormal and should be evaluated by a physician. The presence of varices (enlarged blood vessels), I presume, refers to varices of the esophagus. If this is true, it implies that there is obstruction to the flow of blood from the spleen (and possibly other organs within the abdomen) to or through the liver. The back-up of blood leads to the enlarged blood vessels and spleen. The most common cause of this situation is liver disease.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Approach to the adult patient with splenomegaly and other splenic disorders"

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Reviewed on 7/12/2017