Hypersplenism is an overactive spleen. The spleen is an organ found in the upper left side of your abdomen. The spleen helps filter old and damaged cells from your bloodstream. If your spleen is overactive, it removes the blood cells too early and too quickly.
The spleen plays a key role in helping your body fight infections. Problems with the spleen can make you more likely to develop infections.
Common causes of hypersplenism include:
- Cirrhosis (advanced liver disease)
- Various connective tissue and inflammatory diseases
- Enlarged spleen
- Low level of one or more types of blood cells
- Feeling full too soon after eating
- Stomach pain on the left side
Arber DA. Spleen. In: Goldblum JR, Lamps LW, McKenney JK, Myers JL, eds. Rosai and Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 38.
Connell NT, Shurin SB, Schiffman F. The spleen and its disorders. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 160.
Spleen - illustration
The spleen is an organ involved in the production and maintenance of red blood cells, the production of certain circulating white blood cells, as a part of the lymph system, and as a part of the immune system.
Review Date: 5/2/2021
Reviewed By: Anna C. Edens Hurst, MD, MS, Associate Professor in Medical Genetics, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.