Splenic abscess is an infrequent complication in the immunocompromised patient. Six patients underwent splenectomy for presumed splenic abscess from 1987 to 1991. Chemotherapy altered the immune system of four patients; the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) rendered the other two vulnerable to infection. Five presented with fever but none had leukocytosis; only one exhibited palpable splenomegaly; three had abdominal pain. Cultures documented systemic infection in all but one, an HIV-positive individual. Respiratory embarrassment was the indication for surgery in one patient. In five cases the decision for surgical intervention was made after computed tomography (CT) indicated the presence of multiple splenic lesions and systemic antibiotics failed to resolve the fevers. CT additionally showed hepatic and/or renal microabscesses in four patients. Signs and symptoms experienced preoperatively resolved with splenectomy in all six patients. No additional surgery was required for the patients with extrasplenic abscesses. Surgical pathology determined that three spleens had fungal and two had mycobacterial abscesses. The other was shown to be a spindle cell sarcoma; no abscess was present. This patient had preoperative blood cultures positive for mycobacteria, and the same organism was recovered from retroperitoneal nodes sampled at the time of splenectomy for the sarcoma. Follow-up indicates that no patients experienced surgical complications or sequelae related to their splenic pathology. Splenectomy is necessary and effective in treating splenic abscesses in immunocompromised patients and is appropriate for diagnosis as well as therapy.
- Splenic abscess
- immunocompromised children
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health