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Enlargement of the spleen.



in medicine, the enlargement of the spleen. Splenomegaly occurs with diseases of the spleen (tumors, cysts, abscesses), with general infections (sepsis, malaria, typhoid fever, typhus), with blood diseases (leukoses, lymphgranulomatos-es), and with liver diseases. The spleen is examined by palpation while the individual is lying on his side; it will not be felt if its size is normal.

Splenomegaly is often the first manifestation of blood disease. In such cases, splenic puncture is performed in order to make an accurate diagnosis. With chronic leukoses, the spleen may occupy most of the abdomen and weigh as much as 8 kg. Splenomegaly is accompanied by disruption of breathing, blood circulation, and the functions of adjacent organs, including the stomach, intestine, and left kidney. Disturbances of splenic blood circulation (thromboses), suppression of hematopoiesis (hypersplenism), and other complications may also occur. The condition is treated by surgically removing the spleen (splenectomy), by irradiating the spleen with gamma rays, and by administering cytostatics and corticosteroids.

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