A practical approach to infarction of the spleen as a rare manifestation of multiple common diseases

Ori Wand, Oshrat E. Tayer-Shifman, Shafik Khoury, Alon Y. Hershko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: There are insufficient data on the aetiologic factors underlying splenic infarction (SI). Therefore, there is no consensus regarding the appropriate diagnostic approach. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients admitted with SI from January 2004 to December 2014. Medical records were screened for the clinical presentation, underlying causes, associated medical conditions and methods of patient evaluation. Results: We found 89 subjects with 90 episodes of SI. Presentation of SI was characterized by abdominal, flank and chest pain (82.2%, 18.9%, 7.8%, respectively); leukocytosis (in 67% of tested subjects); elevated LDH (72%), CRP (97.5%) and D-Dimer (100%). The main underlying mechanisms were cardioembolic (54.4%), vascular (20%), haematologic disorders (15.6%) and multiple causes (21.1%). Atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis were common in older patients (age > 70 years) while antiphospholipid syndrome occurred exclusively in younger individuals. SI was the presentation of previously unknown medical conditions in 38% of patients. Abdominal CT, ECG, echocardiography and blood cultures demonstrated the highest diagnostic yield. Conclusions: Contributing factors are identified in the majority of SI patients. We recommend CT, ECG, echocardiography and blood cultures in all cases. Atrial fibrillation should be sought in older patients, while APLS and haematologic disorders should be suspected in younger ones.KEY MESSAGES There is no consensus regarding the diagnostic approach and management of splenic infarction. Cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation are the main causes for SI in elderly subjects while hematological, infectious and other causes are more prevalent in younger ones. Our data strongly suggests a high diagnostic yield for CT scan, ECG, blood culture and echocardiogram in every patient with SI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-500
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2018


  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • atherosclerosis
  • atrial fibrillation
  • myeloproliferative neoplasm
  • splenic infarction


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