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#1
Old 03-01-2007, 11:21 AM
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Quality of life without a spleen?

I had my spleen removed about 5 months ago due to splenomegaly.
It weighed over 10 lbs and was slightly larger than a football upon excision, so aside from having exceptionally large incisions with an increased healing period - how does this affect a persons quality of life - long term?

Are there health enhancement tricks for people without spleens? I didn't have insurance at the time of the emergency surgery, and now It's literally impossible to get medical coverage or the knowledge on my condition that a regular Doctor could share with me.

I haven't had much luck with clear explanations from my surgeon either, he doesn't seem to like elaborating much in a way that I can understand. It may be his heavy Indian accent or just that he's very succinct, but it's left me wondering a lot - about something I should probably understand a lot more clearly. For the time being I only know the basics - Get pneumo vaccines, and see a Dr. if I get a fever.

Does anyone have a longer history of living without a spleen who could offer some advice or knowledge on the matter?
#2
Old 03-01-2007, 11:25 AM
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A guy who worked for me while we were in the Navy didn't have a spleen.

He had it removed as a child. Obviously, IANAD and this applies only to this guy, but he lived a normal life, was physically active, had a physically demanding job and needed no special considerations, and was able to deploy away from home for six months at a time without problems.

He just couldn't drink. He said that a shot of alcohol generally knocked him out for hours - at least it did the one time he tried it. I never asked for a demonstration.
#3
Old 03-01-2007, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Factotum
He just couldn't drink. He said that a shot of alcohol generally knocked him out for hours - at least it did the one time he tried it. I never asked for a demonstration.
That's one thing I have yet to do again since having it removed. The surgeon said I could drink like a fish after I healed, But after reading this, I think I'll put a hold on that bottle of Sake' i just bought. I can't imagine what would have happened if I'd sucked down the whole bottle as planned. Thanks for the heads up.
#4
Old 03-01-2007, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotic audit
For the time being I only know the basics - Get pneumo vaccines, and see a Dr. if I get a fever.
That's really the most important part. You're at higher risk for bacterial infections (and malaria, IIRC), so if you start getting sick, get your butt to a doctor and make sure you tell them you're spleenless.

As a medical tech, I can tell you your blood will be fun to look at under the microscope. You'll have target-shaped cells, and little round inclusions that the spleen normally removes. Won't affect your health, but your blood smears will probably be snatched away as demo slides for students to learn from.
#5
Old 03-01-2007, 11:43 AM
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I had my spleen removed in 1987, secondary to thrombocytopenia. I live a totally normal life with no restrictions. I have had some problems with vasculitis, but I still remain active (skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, hiking etc...). I haven't had any problems with my immune system, but I did get the Lyme vaccination since I live in a high risk area. I enjoy adult beverages with no problem.
#6
Old 03-01-2007, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antigen
That's really the most important part. You're at higher risk for bacterial infections (and malaria, IIRC), so if you start getting sick, get your butt to a doctor and make sure you tell them you're spleenless.

As a medical tech, I can tell you your blood will be fun to look at under the microscope. You'll have target-shaped cells, and little round inclusions that the spleen normally removes. Won't affect your health, but your blood smears will probably be snatched away as demo slides for students to learn from.
Funny you mention blood. I've been having an increase in platelets (719,000) and RDW of 18.3 so maybe it would be even more fun to look at. I'd certainly love to see it, but i also wanted to see my spleen before they hacked it up and didnt get the chance. Kind of fun to think of my blood smears being stolen away though.
#7
Old 03-01-2007, 01:01 PM
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I had a splenectomy in 1977 due to trauma. It's basically had no significant effect on me. As others have said, get a pneumovax shot. The fact that I have no spleen probably contributes to the fact that I get a lot of bladder infections, but it's hard to say whether that is more or less responsible for the infections than the fact that I'm paraplegic. I warn radiology and ultrasound techs that I have no spleen so they don't go "huh?", but other than that I don't think about it.

Since I'm north of the border my splenectomy and various other conditions have no relevance to my medical coverage. I don't drink anyway, so I have no idea whether my splenectomy would affect my reaction to alcohol.

Last edited by Canadjun; 03-01-2007 at 01:04 PM.
#8
Old 05-03-2012, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotic audit View Post
I had my spleen removed about 5 months ago due to splenomegaly.
It weighed over 10 lbs and was slightly larger than a football upon excision, so aside from having exceptionally large incisions with an increased healing period - how does this affect a persons quality of life - long term?

Are there health enhancement tricks for people without spleens? I didn't have insurance at the time of the emergency surgery, and now It's literally impossible to get medical coverage or the knowledge on my condition that a regular Doctor could share with me.

I haven't had much luck with clear explanations from my surgeon either, he doesn't seem to like elaborating much in a way that I can understand. It may be his heavy Indian accent or just that he's very succinct, but it's left me wondering a lot - about something I should probably understand a lot more clearly. For the time being I only know the basics - Get pneumo vaccines, and see a Dr. if I get a fever.

Does anyone have a longer history of living without a spleen who could offer some advice or knowledge on the matter?
I Had my spleen reoved when I was five due to ITP, I had lived a normal Life since only thing is doctors freakinf out because of my WBC and platelet spikes, other than that get your flu and pnumococal vaccines you should live a normal life...Im 48 now
#9
Old 05-03-2012, 10:11 AM
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I Had my spleen reoved when I was five due to ITP, I had lived a normal Life since only thing is doctors freakinf out because of my WBC and platelet spikes, other than that get your flu and pnumococal vaccines you should live a normal life...Im 48 now
#10
Old 05-03-2012, 03:45 PM
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I had my spleen out as a teenager due to lymphoma. Its been 20 years and I've never missed it, nor had the slightest complication. I do get a pneumococcus vaccine every 5 years or so and flu vaccine every year.

ALso, no problems drinking alcohol.

Last edited by mozchron; 05-03-2012 at 03:46 PM.
#11
Old 05-03-2012, 04:07 PM
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What about zombification? Is that affected by the absence of a spleen?
#12
Old 05-03-2012, 04:09 PM
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One problem would be you wouldn't be able to vent it.
#13
Old 05-03-2012, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naita View Post
What about zombification? Is that affected by the absence of a spleen?
Doh!

My spleen hasn't come back as a zombie either.
#14
Old 05-03-2012, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by naita View Post
What about zombification? Is that affected by the absence of a spleen?
Doh!

My spleen hasn't come back as a zombie either. [QUOTE=mozchron;15029907]Doh!





I salute this reply.
#15
Old 05-03-2012, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NyYankeehatr View Post
.... you should live a normal life...
Unless your user name has an element of truth and you live in the Bronx.
#16
Old 05-04-2012, 12:41 AM
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I can't help but remember Phil Ochs' Draft Doger Rag
Quote:
Sarge, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse
#17
Old 05-04-2012, 06:00 AM
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As alluded to above, there is one potentially life-threatening complication of not having a spleen. Specifically, asplenic individuals are at increased risk of developing (certain) fulminant, overwhelming infections by so-called encapsulated bacteria (listed in the link). Vaccines are available for several of them (Neisseria meningitis (aka meningococcus), Haemophilus influenzae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae) and people without a spleen are strongly advised to get them.

Interestingly, a good percentage of people who have had their spleens removed are not actually asplenic. That is because they have much smaller accessory spleens which were not detected/excised at the time their spleen was removed (i.e. they are easily overlooked at surgery). In fact, that is rather common, occurring in perhaps ten to thirty percent of the population. People with residual accessory spleens can be identified by looking at their blood under the microscope - they do not exhibit the changes described by Antigen above. Another way to identify them is by doing a nuclear spleen scan (not a CAT scan or MRI).

Last edited by KarlGauss; 05-04-2012 at 06:04 AM.
#18
Old 09-03-2012, 11:48 AM
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I lost my spleen 15 years ago at age 40 in a vehicle accident and have been fine up until 2 years ago. I then came down with flu like symptoms and fever, which lasted about the usual time of the flu, however afterwards I was left with encephalitis type headaches, stiff neck and fatigue. Days of bed rest will leave me feeling almost 100%, however even moderate physical activity results in reappearance of the symptoms. I have had a plethora of blood tests done in the last two years, all have been negative except for Toxoplasmosis which I apparently kicked. HIV, Hep, Lymme, Mono, etc. all negative. I did have some immunizations when my spleen was removed and am checking to see what they were.

At the time of the initial occurrence I had been operating heavy equipment in a damp, forested environment in Norther California, and though I don't travel often I have friends who are commercial pilots flying worldwide. I don't know if either of these may have been a trigger.

Any thought appreciated, my doctors are stumped.

Paul
#19
Old 09-03-2012, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
Vaccines are available for several of them (Neisseria meningitis (aka meningococcus), Haemophilus influenzae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae) and people without a spleen are strongly advised to get them.
I know that I am responding to a message that is several months old, but I just noticed it now because of Paul Z's comment. I have no spleen as well. I had thought I only got a Pneumovax vaccination several years ago when I was in hospital for a few months and they realized I was asplenic but probably had never had any shots that one should get under the circumstances (I say "probably" because they'd have to pull my medical records from a few decades ago and from a different province to check).

I got Alberta Health to send me a statement a few weeks ago of what shots they had a record of (as part of the requirements for being a hospital volunteer) and lo and behold they claim that I got a meningitis, haemophilus, AND pneumonia shot, all on the same day. Are those shots normally combined into one? I'm sure I didn't get 3 needles on the same day!
#20
Old 09-04-2012, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
As alluded to above, there is one potentially life-threatening complication of not having a spleen. Specifically, asplenic individuals are at increased risk of developing (certain) fulminant, overwhelming infections by so-called encapsulated bacteria (listed in the link). Vaccines are available for several of them (Neisseria meningitis (aka meningococcus), Haemophilus influenzae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae) and people without a spleen are strongly advised to get them. ).
Another one asplenic people are at risk for is Capnocytophaga canimorsus. I've seen fulminant cases of this and it's not pretty. So be careful around dogs and cats.
#21
Old 09-04-2012, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadjun View Post
I know that I am responding to a message that is several months old, but I just noticed it now because of Paul Z's comment. I have no spleen as well. I had thought I only got a Pneumovax vaccination several years ago when I was in hospital for a few months and they realized I was asplenic but probably had never had any shots that one should get under the circumstances (I say "probably" because they'd have to pull my medical records from a few decades ago and from a different province to check).

I got Alberta Health to send me a statement a few weeks ago of what shots they had a record of (as part of the requirements for being a hospital volunteer) and lo and behold they claim that I got a meningitis, haemophilus, AND pneumonia shot, all on the same day. Are those shots normally combined into one? I'm sure I didn't get 3 needles on the same day!
I'm actually not familiar with the various formulations of vaccines that are available. I do know, though, that the haemophilus and meningococcal vaccines do exist as a commercially prepared combination. Whether that was available for you, of course, I have no idea.
#22
Old 09-04-2012, 04:22 PM
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I have read that the Neisseria meningitis vaccine only lasts 3 years? In my case I'm sure I have not had it in that time frame, however from what I'm reading, though my systems seem very meningitis like, Neisseria meningitis is not a long term situation, more of a sudden and severe illness.
#23
Old 09-04-2012, 04:31 PM
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My mom lost her spleen in an automobile accident over 30 years ago, with no noticeable side effects. Except that whenever she does something that's not to clever or has something unlucky happen, we shake our heads sadly and say "that wouldn't have happened if you still had your spleen."
#24
Old 09-04-2012, 05:15 PM
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Spleeeeens!
#25
Old 03-28-2013, 02:15 PM
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A word of warning to fellow spleen-less ones: don't ever become complacent about infection!! I did and I almost paid with my life! I had my spleen removed in 1983, due to an inherited blood disorder, and had no issues for 29 years. I always kept my pneumovax up to date and got the flu shot. Then in the fall of 2012 I ignored fever/chills for 4 days (it's just a virus...) and ended up with sepsis and endocarditis. Spent a week in ICU, then had to have open heart surgery when the infection was under control because the endocarditis chewed up 2 heart valves. Spent 4 weeks in hospital all together. This all started while on vacation in the USA, fortunately had travel medical insurance, and after 4 days in ICU in Oregon the insurance co medi-vacced me back to Canada where the rest of my care was handled by our wonderful BC health care system. The system has its flaws, without a doubt, but I can't say enough about the care I received.
#26
Old 03-28-2013, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtenhave View Post
[ . . . ] Then in the fall of 2012 I ignored fever/chills for 4 days (it's just a virus...) and ended up with sepsis and endocarditis. Spent a week in ICU, then had to have open heart surgery when the infection was under control because the endocarditis chewed up 2 heart valves. Spent 4 weeks in hospital all together. This all started while on vacation in the USA, fortunately had travel medical insurance, and after 4 days in ICU in Oregon the insurance co medi-vacced me back to Canada where the rest of my care was handled by our wonderful BC health care system. [ . . . ]
Did you drink the water? When you travel in foreign lands, don't drink the water!
#27
Old 03-29-2013, 05:17 AM
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It's pretty cool that Canadjun has replied to this thread twice, 6 years apart, and seems to be doing pretty well spleenless.
#28
Old 03-29-2013, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by listedmia View Post
It's pretty cool that Canadjun has replied to this thread twice, 6 years apart, and seems to be doing pretty well spleenless.
Shall we make it 3 times?

Yes, I am still alive and kicking. I get bladder infections a lot mostly because I am paraplegic and self-catheterize, but I am sure being asplenic doesn't help the situation. Haven't run into any diagnosed heart issues yet ("diagnosed" because I know enough to realize that it's conceivable something could be brewing, but if so it hasn't produced obvious symptoms).
#29
Old 03-29-2013, 02:23 PM
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Medical advice is best suited to IMHO.

Note that this thread was started in 2007.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Last edited by Colibri; 03-29-2013 at 02:24 PM.
#30
Old 07-26-2013, 02:17 PM
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Underlying condition

If anyone has had blood tests that show an MGUS, and has had fevers, hives, arthritis or other symptoms along with an enlarged spleen, you may have something called Schnitzler's Syndrome.

I have that and I am thinking that I will eventually have to have my spleen taken out. I can't eat large meals and I get deep pains in my stomach...

Just a thought - I found this page through a google search of "life without a spleen"

:-)
#31
Old 07-26-2013, 02:23 PM
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[Desi]"Lucy! You got some spleenin' to do!"[/Desi]
#32
Old 07-26-2013, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinahmoe View Post
I had my spleen removed in 1987, secondary to thrombocytopenia. I live a totally normal life with no restrictions. I have had some problems with vasculitis, but I still remain active (skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, hiking etc...). I haven't had any problems with my immune system, but I did get the Lyme vaccination since I live in a high risk area. I enjoy adult beverages with no problem.
Your post got me excited - as I was unware their was a vaccine for Lyme Disease - and as a somewhat regular hiker - am afraid I'm going to miss a tick one day.

Anyway - apparently it was taken off the market - not because it doesn't work, but because increased threats of (what seems like baseless) lawsuits made it unprofitable...
http://wbur.org/2012/06/27/lyme-vaccine

Now I'm pissed off - according to the article some people are getting the vaccine from vets.

ETA: Oh and just realizing this is a zombie

Last edited by DataX; 07-26-2013 at 03:53 PM.
#33
Old 07-26-2013, 04:04 PM
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My mom had her spleen removed in the late 70s after a traffic accident injury, and I'm not aware of any adverse health effects on her. She's still kicking 35 years later.
#34
Old 07-26-2013, 04:13 PM
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That's okay, we're about due for an update from Canadjun, aren't we?
#35
Old 07-26-2013, 11:35 PM
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Do we know why the OP had his spleen removed?

The underlying cause of the splenomegaly is more likely to weigh on survivability than being asplenic...

Have we heard from the OP since the OP?
#36
Old 04-07-2014, 08:09 AM
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I know this thread is pretty old, but can anyone tell me about anesthesia after a splenectomy? I keep having folks tell me that if you have no spleen, they can't use anesthesia on you for future surgeries. That just doesn't sound right to me. Anyone know anything about that?
#37
Old 04-07-2014, 10:58 AM
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I had my spleen out in 1972, and have had other major and minor surgeries. No problems with anesthesia at all.
#38
Old 04-07-2014, 11:02 AM
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I had a splenectomy as well as a lot of other repair work done to my insides after major injuries in 1977. Since then I have had a kidney stone removed surgically (not sure if it was removed because lithotripsy wasn't main-stream then or whether it was too big for lithotripsy), a repair to one of my ureters, skin grafts due to scalds (I have extremely poor sensation below my waist/hips, so I can do major damage without feeling it), and several "flaps" to repair a deep pressure sore. Those were all under general anesthesia.

Last edited by Canadjun; 04-07-2014 at 11:04 AM.
#39
Old 02-09-2017, 07:22 PM
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The doctors told me i would have less energy when i had my spleen removed over 45 years ago,in addition to not fighting illness very well.i did ok up until 2012 I developed a spine infection and blood poisoning,i have adhd and i wonder is there any connection to serotin and the spleen.i have been told i have a brain aneuyism and i wonder if my thick blood poses a danger.I read that spleens would grow back in children under 14.I had fibroids removed in 1994 and my doctor said I had many baby spleens.I was 14 and half when I lost my spleen due to a sled accident.i have also read that spleen removal interupts the chakkra energy flow thru your body.In my opinion, I dont think there is much info about long term effects of spleen removal.
#40
Old 02-09-2017, 08:30 PM
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I believe my cousin had his spleen removed... along with his pancreas, gallbladder, kidneys, and part of at least one intestine. (He got a new kidney from his brother). He seems pretty functional. I can't recall him mentioning any spleen-related issues, anyway.
#41
Old 02-09-2017, 09:55 PM
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Hey, how's Canadjun doing?
#42
Old 02-09-2017, 10:19 PM
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Or the OP for that matter. He seems to have faded just after starting this thread like 10 years ago. I do like his interests though; novel combination.
#43
Old 02-10-2017, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Hey, how's Canadjun doing?
Justt peachy-keen! Thank you for asking!

Last edited by Canadjun; 02-10-2017 at 12:57 PM.
#44
Old 04-04-2017, 07:34 PM
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spleenless community

I am just jumping on this thread because ever since losing my spleen about 6+ years ago, I have wanted to connect with other spleenless folks. I feel like whenever i go to the doctor i know more about a spleenless condition than they do, and i never feel "at peace" with their answers.

My biggest questions deal with the blood, and since those without spleens are missing our primary filter for decommissioned red bc, white bc, and platelets, wouldn't it be interesting to learn that certain blood "transfusions" could benefit our bodies...
for example, donating blood, donating platelets, receiving blood from a known source, fighting infection using a host's blood support, etc etc...

whenever i ask my doctor community questions similar to above, they always say none of that would be necessary... but i feel like they spend ZERO time studying the matter because they go with their generic teachings, that life without a spleen is exactly the same except for the need for three vaccines.

Anyway, i have days of conversation stored up in my head about ideas, questions, and theories about longevity and health and wellness for people without spleens, and I hope that bouncing a few ideas off this thread will help me or maybe someone else.
#45
Old 04-04-2017, 07:42 PM
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Calling Qadgop? If anyone sees a lot of asplenic people, it's him.

Other than a slight impairment of the immune system, the QOL for someone without a spleen isn't much different than it is for someone who has one (or more than one; many people do).
#46
Old 04-05-2017, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Calling Qadgop? If anyone sees a lot of asplenic people, it's him.

Other than a slight impairment of the immune system, the QOL for someone without a spleen isn't much different than it is for someone who has one (or more than one; many people do).
Admittedly I am just a sample of one, but I have never been told that the fact that my spleen was removed in 1977 has made a difference in my health. So, I agree with nearwildheaven
#47
Old 04-08-2017, 05:08 PM
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The big problem for asplenic people is infections.

Other than increased susceptibility to certain types of infections which can lead to severe sepsis (primarily from encapsulated organisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis), splenectomized patients or those with other causes of asplenia or impaired splenic function don't seem to be at significant increased risk for other live or health-threatening disorders.

So if you lack a functioning or an actual spleen: Get your immunizations! That includes those not routinely offered to the general healthy population, like pneumococcal, meningococcal, and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines.

Also, be aware of signs and symptoms of infection such as fever, sweats, chills, muscle pains, rigor, and so on, and have a very low threshold for contacting your doctor when such symptoms present. I'm no fan of handing out antibiotics for prevention, but they can play a role in keeping asplenic adults healthy.

Here's a link to a good patient education handout about taking care of oneself after splenectomy: Preventing severe infection after splenectomy
#48
Old 04-08-2017, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! View Post
I believe my cousin had his spleen removed... along with his pancreas, gallbladder, kidneys, and part of at least one intestine. (He got a new kidney from his brother). He seems pretty functional. I can't recall him mentioning any spleen-related issues, anyway.


Why did your cousin need such incredibly radical surgery?
#49
Old 11-21-2017, 05:35 AM
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Hii. Haven't had my spleen for about 10 years now.
Was wondering, do you guys get more frequent sore throats? Do you have your tonsils?

My throat feels like its a constant problem for me. And I feel like my glands are also always getting swollen. Kinda wondering if this happens cause my immune system is always kicking into overdrive to fight infections due to lack of spleen? Wanted to see if anybody else experienced similar.

I've always wanted to talk to other people without spleens to kinda get some insight on there experiences. There is a lot of known very useful information, but I also feel like there's a lot that doctors and science haven't figured out yet. And sometimes seems are uninterested in. Ha

Ok. Thanks
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