The spleen is an organ located in the upper left part of your abdomen under your rib cage, toward your back. It is part of the lymph system and it helps rid your body of bacteria and fight infection. The spleen may become enlarged (splenomegaly) due to many different causes.
Common causes of enlarged spleen include:
- liver disease (cirrhosis),
- cancers of the blood or bone (such as lymphoma, leukemia, polycythemia vera, and thrombocythemia),
- infection (AIDS, mononucleosis, endocarditis, malaria),
- congestion or inflammation (congestive heart failure), and
- primary splenic disease (splenic vein thrombosis).
Other causes of enlarged spleen include:
In children, causes of enlarged spleen are usually the result of an overactive immune system response to infection, or immune system disorders.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
UpToDate. Approach to the adult patient with splenomegaly and other splenic disorders.
UpToDate. Approach to the child with an enlarged spleen.